Gem Iron Happiness

With this title.. I guess I sort of ruined the surprise about what I found at a local antique shop over the weekend.

If you guessed gem irons, you're right as rain. I had written a draft post about gems last year after a lengthy discussion with a food historian at the University of Otago. Now, as the proud owner of two of these treasured baking implements, I'll dig it out of the archives..


Stevet said…
Hi Mary,

What a fantastic coincidence. I found two of these in a antique shop in Warkworth yesterday afternoon. Mine need a bit of cleanup before I can use them, but I can't wait to try Nanna Moorehouse’s recipe ASAP.

Cheers -Stevet
Mary said…
Hi Steve!

And congratulations! Nice to have someone share in the joy. Mine are in remarkable condition given the chances that someone didn't see their value.
I trialed Elisabeth Petersen's recipe (slightly modified) last year with good results and also Betty's (from Bibliocook) which were also yummy. Not so well received was the recipe from Cuisine's ginger feature.
I am also keen to try out Nanna Moorehouse's recipe.. who I hope would have a laugh over the stir she is causing among a bunch of gem mad bakers!
Barbara said…
Have you had a chance to check out the ones I saw in the second hand shop in Dunedin?
Did you find some of those gorgeous old cast iron ones? I'm so jealous! Mine are only lightweight aluminium but - when I have a chance to use them in NZ - I do love them. Not as much as I love cast iron, though! Was thinking of importing them to Ireland in January but I'm not sure what the x-ray might think of gem irons in the hand luggage. It is lovely to hear that Betty's Ginger Gems are getting made again. I photocopied her notebook of old recipes and should go through it again to make a few other dishes.
Bron said…
Hehe there's no doubt my Nanna would be very tickled indeed, shame the irons are rare as hens teeth!
I've seen them in Ballantynes once or twice here in Chch for $60!!
Otherwise only at flea markets and garage sales.
Mary said…
Hi Barbara, good spot! I did check them out just this morning.. they are aluminium, but quite sturdy. For $8 each, if anyone wants them, let me know and I'll see if they are still there (later today if I can) or when I am back from up North.

And Caroline, hello and good to hear from you as well! I did luck out finding the cast iron ones.. only by chance. Mine will be traveling in a few months well wrapped in the depths of a backpack so I'll let you know how they get on.
Lucky you to have a written record of some tried and true Kiwi recipes and lucky us that you share them.

Thank you both for your comments,

Mary said…
Hi Bron,
$60 ouch. No gems for this grad student if that was my only option. And big a thank you for posting Nanna Moorehouse's recipe. So nice to have a link to the past through food.
I still love that 'lashings of butter'.. what Saturday mornings are for..
Thanks again,
Kathy Pearlman said…
Is there any pan that can substitute for gem irons?
Mary said…
Hi Kathy,

I haven't tried a substitute pan but I suspect that a mini muffin tin might suffice as long as it is sturdy. That is, not any material that warps in the oven at a high heat. I've found that the key to the gems is the preheating of the pan (much like a Yorkshire pud) and working while it's hot so a pan that retains some heat and remains level is essential.
Good luck!

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