Today I continue my challenge to cook through “A Baker’s Odyssey” Greg Patent. From the last entry of Kulich and Pashka which was long and moderately difficult, I go to an easy and delicious afternoon treat. These are a lemony, tea cake with a crumbly, buttery texture filled with golden raisins or currants – I used sultanas. Apparently this recipe dates back to the eighteenth century or earlier. Almost like a scone though with much less liquid to hold the mixture together. I love the idea of not having to turn on the oven instead these a simply cooked on a nonstick griddle or pan.
250g (2 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup golden raisins, sultana or currents
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 large egg
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
The butter needs to be rubbed into the dry ingredients and this can be done by hand, stand mixer or food processor. I use the food processor for this task.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. If your food processor has a large bowl you can place all of these dry ingredients into the bowl. If not, use 2/3 of this mixture. With the metal blade in the food processor add the butter and pulse 5 or 6 times then process continuously for 10 seconds. I found mine needed more processing. The mixture should look like fine meal. Be careful not to over process. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl then mix in the spices, dried fruit and lemon rind.
Beat the egg then add the lemon juice and milk.
Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and use a fork to toss and stir until the mixture forms medium to large clumps. Now use your hands to bring the mixture together. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t soften. The key to this recipe is that minimum liquid is used . If you really need a few drops of additional milk can be used so that the mixture will hold.
Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the mixture to 1/3 inch (just under 1cm) thick. Don’t make it any thick or else it won’t cook through.
Use a 2 1/2 inch cutter (about 6.5cm) to stamp out circles.
Place rounds onto baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.
Gather the scraps together and keep stamping out circles. The last one or two might need to be formed by hand.
If you have a non stick electric griddle heat to 250F to 275F. I use a non stick pan over a low gas flame, adjusting the heat periodically.
Add the cakes to the pan leaving about 2 inches between each. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until nicely browned.
Using a egg flip or pancake turner carefully turn each cake and cook for a further 5 to 6 minutes. The cakes will feel firm and the sides will have lost their softness. A wooden skewer inserted should come out clean. Transfer to cake rack to cool.
Continue cooking cakes in the same way.
Greg recommends sprinkling with sugar while hot but we enjoyed them just as they were.
Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature with a cup of steaming tea.
These cakes are moreish! The taste and texture makes them irresistible and I did eat more than I should have!