Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fabulous Fare

Welsh Cakes are more robust than the lighter cakes we know but really lovely to eat when still hot, split and buttered. Perfect for an autumn tea. Am using a few less currants than normally used mainly because the butter, lard, sugar and currants (all the same weight) then add up to the weight of flour to be used, thus making it easy to remember.
Pice ar y Maen (Welsh Cakes):
4 oz (100g) butter
4 oz (100g) lard
1 lb (450g) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 oz (100g) sugar
4 oz (100g( currants or raisins
1 egg, beaten
milk to mix
Rub the butter and lard into the flour and salt until like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and dried fruit. Add the egg and enough milk to make into a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and free from cracks. Roll out and cut into 3" rounds with a cutter or glass. Heat a heavy flat-bottomed griddle or heavy frying pan and lightly grease the surface, then cook the cakes on each side, until golden brown. Best eaten hot, split and buttered.

In Northerm Ireland this Irish potato speciality is served hot at teatime and worth making if you have left-over mash you wish to use up in a more unusual way that topping a cottage pie.
Irish Potato and Apple Cake:
1 lb (45g) mashed potatoes
1 oz (25g) margarine
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
4 oz (100g) plain flour
1 lb (450g) cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 oz (25g) melted butter
sugar to taste
Put the mashed potatoes in a bowl and mash in the margarine, sugar, salt and flour. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide in half and roll out into two rounds to fit a greased pie plate. Cover the plate with one round, trim and brush egg with milk. Lay the apple slices over the middle and pour over the melted butter, sprinkling over sugar to taste. Place the second pastry round on the top and pinch edges together. Trim edges and make a few slits on top so the steam can escape. Brush the surface with milk and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 5 for about 35 minutes, or until golden.

Devonshire Splits:
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
3 oz (75g) margarine
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
Sift the flour with the salt and rub in the marg. untl like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then just enough milk (approx 3 tlsp) to make a fairly stiff dough. Knead lightly on a floured board until the cracks disappear, then roll out to half inch thick and cut into scone-size rounds (just under 3" dia.). Bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for about 15 minutes, by this time they should be well risen. Cool, split with the fingers (a natural split usually appears half-way up when baking - if not use a knife) and serve with lashing of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Hereford Cider Cake:
8 oz (225g) plain flour
pinch salt
half level tsp freshly ground nutmeg
half level tsp ground ginger
half level tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 oz (100g) butter
4 oz (100g) sugar
2 eggs
5 fl oz (150ml) cider
Sieve the flour with the salt, bicarb. and spices. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Whisk the cider to make it frothy and add to the creamed mixture, then fold in the dry sieved ingredients and spoon into a greased 8" x 6" tin and bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for 45 - 50 mins.
Leave to cool and store for a day before cutting.