A Recipe for Tudor Jumbals à la GBBO

by Dr Ruth Salter

As you may be aware that this year the University’s team responsible for MOOCs [Massive Open Online Courses] and the history department, headed by Prof Kate Williams, have been working closely on an exciting venture.  Along with colleagues in Food and Nutritional Science and Historic Royal Palaces, we have been involved in the creation of a new MOOC called A History of Royal Food and Feasting.

Phillip II of Spain and his court enjoying 16th century royal hospitality in Alonso Sanches Coelho, The Royal Feast, 1579.

As the first two weeks of this five-week course on royal feasting focus on food in the royal courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, we were understandably excited to see the Great British Bake Off hosting a ‘Tudor Week’.  With the first outing for Royal Food and Feasting in Summer 2016 being a huge success, and the second run beginning on 31st October (there’s still time to join), the Bake Off’s Tudor Week couldn’t have come at a better moment – clearly everyone loves a bit of historical baking! So we were particularly excited to hear that the bakers would be tackling the making of jumbals in their technical challenge.


But what are jumbals? Well, jumbals, or jumbles, are sweet, spiced biscuits, popular because they could keep for long periods of time. They were often twisted into knots or pretzel shapes to make them easier to bite into: it is thought that the word ‘jumble’ derives from the Arabic word for twin.

So, do you fancy your chances at making jumbals worthy of the Bake Off tent?

Would Mary and Paul approve of your jumbals?!

If you are interested in making your own jumbals, and trying your hand at some Tudor baking, then you might be interested in the following recipe card, created for week 2 (Elizabethan week) of the Royal Food and Feasting MOOC.

Please feel free to share images of your creations with us, and the MOOC team, on Twitter!  You can find us @UniRdg_History, and the MOOC Team @UniRdg_OOCs.



To show that it can be done, here are some pictures of the MOOC teams jumbals which they made yesterday in time for Bake Off.  Do share your attmept with us on Twitter, we’d love to see them!
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