St.Lucian Easter: Penny Piece - Pain Epice - Pennepis

... And as I start to upload this album, "May I have some more penny piece? A big one!" my daughter asked. Umm, like she has not eaten enough for the day! 

Penny Piece - Pain Epice - Pennepis (who knows?)

As for the name ... 
Penny Piece ... in the early days, it used to cost a penny for a piece
Pain Epice ... with St.Lucia's French influence, this translates to 'spice bread'
Pennepis ... spelt as pronounced

It is a delicious, crispy, paper thin St.Lucian ginger treat, traditionally eaten during the Lenten Season. Nowadays, it can be found on supermarket shelves, all year round. I loved it so much, and I remember my grandfather would bring a brown paper filled with it from Aunty Christine's mom who used to live on High Street, in Castries.  Sadly, my grandfather and Aunty Christine's mom have since long passed away.

Fortunately though, my mom taught me to make it when I was a child, so I know exactly how to make my own.  I usually make it every Easter, and although my husband is not a fan, my daughter absolutely loves it.  Even on this recent trip to St.Lucia, it's the first St.Lucian goody she demands, especially since  her granny, my mom may just have some in store.  

In 2009, I posted the following pictures to a Facebook album, "A St.Lucian treat, 'Penny Piece'.  I was teaching her to make it and she was my little helper.  ... And at the rate in which she devours them, I'm glad she's learning. It's also wonderful to think she may some day make them for her family, passing on the tradition to her family. Even a German FB friend was inspired to make her own.   


½ lb fresh ginger
1 cup sugar syrup (can be anything from ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar to ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1. Grate ginger (scrape off the light skin with a knife first)
2. Mix flour, ginger and syrup in to a ball
3. Grab pieces of ginger dough ... and roll flat (paper thin)
4. Place on a cooking baking sheet
5. Place in a 350 temp oven
6. Keep up the pace.  LOL!

... And though, I make my own without any help of a recipe. You can alter to suit your taste needs, may it be more or less ginger, or more or less syrup.  Instead of powdered ginger, I prefer fresh ginger for a flavor kick. ... And though some may use sugar, I make a simple syrup which I make by boiling sugar and water. You can use brown sugar or white sugar. I usually use white. The goal is to make a dough which can be rolled paper thin and then moved over to a cookie baking sheet. So you don't want a very damp or gummy dough. The tedious part is rolling the dough and then keeping a constant eye on the oven, since they bake so quickly. So usually by the time, you roll and place on cookie sheet, the ones in the oven are done. Should be a golden brown color. I have noted the longer it stays in the oven, the more the sugar burns, giving it a bitter taste. Over the years, I've also learnt how to bring stale soft penny piece back to (edible) life ... just pop in the oven. Let it cool and it should be crispy and very tasty again.

1 comment

  1. I think it is a good thing that you taught her because then she would keep the tradition. Now a days the older folks die with their recipes. They do not share them of which I find is selfish because you are moving on, those coming would like to continue with the tradition. Thanks for the recipe. God bless.