I baked

I baked.

Its all to do with the romance of the past, nostalgia. In the end I can change that, a reminder of my D2 will soon put paid to that and the nagging ‘its not good for you’ brings me undone.

Then the mental gymnastics starts… but I am good! NO you are bad! But I eat well! NO you dont, you eat stuff thats bad for you! Don’t! Do! It goes on and on. But I made wholemeal bread, thats good for me! True, but not too much! What’s life if you have to be a slave to food? A tiny small transgression won’t hurt! Yes it will, your feet will drop off! Nooooooo thats not fair! If I bake and don’t eat will that be ok?

I baked.

By this time there was no choice but a trip down nostalgia lane was so on. And I had decided that being wise and not eating any of the divine, decadent, deliciousness that was possibly to erupt on my benches was not only good planning, but essential for life.

I can be so noble! Occasionally.

Ottolenghi’s had baked some Welsh Griddle Cakes, stirred some deeply buried memory. Griddle was all about how you cooked the cake (scone, pikelet or even crumpet). I had long since given mine away or maybe sold it, I know at one point I had one, it was a disc of metal that had this large handle, it was designed to be suspended over a fire. There is something sort of old hag about a griddle plate, kind of fits in with the cauldron bubbling over the open hearth. In fact if you have one of those fancy assed steak griddles with the lines.. what IS that all about, at what point in time did we sort of have this collective moment when we just knew… convinced… that meats with brown lines on them were way wayyyy better than meat grilled without???  I am googling!

Try this on for…  http://artofmanliness.com/2008/03/12/grilling-the-perfect-steak/

Nuhuh… not a thing, I have just tweeted, let see if some of the grill meisters out in twitter land can convince me of why. Not a twitter back… either I am a bad bad tweeter or maybe boring. I once asked a fellow foodie what their take on twitter/tweet was and they said (delicate souls please look away) ‘its all a question of how far you can get your nose up some other person’s ass’. Crude but oh so true.

Did you know that in Scotland they call them girdle cakes. In the rest of the UK (apparently) they are called griddle. Interesting too that each of the major areas of the UK, had their own type of griddle plate.

The blessed Iris did not I suspect, follow the recipe and I don’t think she EVER put an egg in a plain scone dough, she would have thought that was simply strange, she was a very CWA woman. She did put an egg in a date scone and I think in a cheese scone. Egg in plain scone was called Cream Scone. Iris did cook some scones on the stove top, Lindsay was fond of that. My father was quite capable of knocking off twelve scones at a sitting and since we had them at least once a week either on Saturday or Sunday, mostly sundays, after a light first course of cold meat and salad, Dad would need to fill up on a slice or two of fruit cake and a bunch of scones, Dad prefered plain scones because then he could ladle them with great dollops of cream and jam. So Iris would drag out the heaviest frying pan and cook a few in that. (Note here that it would NOT have been greased with butter, certainly not oil … that was not for eating… but in fact withe lard.)

Its not all that easy. Most scones are about 1 to 1.5 cm thick and need a decent heat to make them rise. The heat that you can generate on a griddle plate will mean that you will need to turn them over again and again to be sure that they don’t burn and that the heat will penetrate. They can easily turn out to be soggy centered and I hate that in a scone. I want moisture, but not sog. If you grab a bit of scone and press if between your fingers and it reverts to dough.. you did it wrong.

The first batch of Welsh Griddle Cakes burned. There I’ve said it. I used the old black pan, put a bit too much butter and had the gas too high. I also had the Griddle cakes too thick, although I claim that the recipe was wrong, they said 1 cm + thick. Wayyyyy to thick, 50 mm is more than enough and even a bit thinner if you can. I am a fast learner, the second batch were much better.

Think biscuit, not quite a cake, not quite a biscuit but more on the biscuit side than cake.

There is a bit of contention about how to eat them… some like extra butter, some like a sprinkle of sugar and some like cream and jam, Lindsay’s choice I am certain of that.

2 cups of SR flour

1/3 cup white sugar (non purists can use brown and I would suspect even wholemeal flour would work except that you would most certainly need more liquid.)

1/4 tspn salt

1/4 tspn cinnamon and 1/4 tspn mace powder

113 grams of cold diced butter

3/4 cup of dried fruit (currants are traditional, but you can use any dried fruit you wish).

1 large egg lightly beaten

60 mil of milk, best at room temperature.

Mix the sugar, flour, spices and salt, all the cold diced butter and with a pastry cutter or your fingers, rub the butter until it resemblescoarse breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre into which you add the beaten egg and half the milk. With your fingers and without over working the dough, begin to bring it together. I add the fruit bit by bit as this process is happening. Almost certain you will need the rest of the milk.

When you have a dough, flour the surface you are going to work on and roll out the dough to 50 mm thickness, not more. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter. Use all the dough by rerolling and cutting circles.

Preheat your chosen appliance (electric griddle plates to about 175 c) give the plate a wipe over with some butter and place the discs onto the surface, cook for about three minutes per side or until golden brown.

Sweet Options..

Fruits (any dried) but try blueberries, cranberries or raspberries

Spices … your choice. (but remember these are not the main game, but a flavour addition)

Flour …your choice (some flours eg: wholemeal use more liquid and so you may need to increase the milk.)

Lemon or Orange rind.



The Savoury Option

These would be delicious and, if you are going the savoury route, cut out the sugar and replace with grated parmesan.

Herbs (chopped fresh, your choice)

Spices … Paprika, cayenne, chilli (just use the sweet spice measure for this)

Cheese (small pieces of feta or other cheese of choice, just be aware of the melting point)

Sundried Tomato

But then I was reminded, its Xmas Pudding time. Not possible, absolutely not. According to those supermarkets, we have just got over hot cross buns and very likely will see them soon again. What between Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs, cold wet winter, how in the name of all thats holy can it be time for Xmas.

Its becoming an agony of decission. There are times when it would be great to simply leave the whole thing to others and just not fuss.

The other thing that I must grudgingly admit hails from the USA, is a  shortcake dough and this is both simple and delicious and makes a great spring/summer desert filled with cream, mascapone or even a creme pattissiere and then fruits.

Shortcake Dough

3 cups of plain flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter chilled and cut into squares

1 egg beaten with

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence



Chop butter into the flour, add the baking powder salt and the sugar till breadcrumbs then mix in the egg and milk and vanilla to make a dough place on a  board and kned with a light hand, split the dough into two, roll out to two even sized discs about 1 cm thick, butter the top of one lightly and top with the second, place on a baking tray and bake in 180 c oven for 15 minutes, allow to cool and split in half. Fill with..

I personally like creme pattisiere, but whipped cream is also great.

Filling can be berries of any kind or gently poached fruits or oven baked fruits (figs, peaches, nectarines, poached pears)


~ by peterwatson on September 21, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: