With this season comes misty nights and autumn storms. Time to shut the world out and hunker down with a cup of tea and some yummy Welsh cakes
- 1 lb of plain flour
- 1 heaped tsp of baking powder
- 10oz of good quality butter
- 6oz of sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 6oz of currants or sultanas (sultanas are softer and juicier)
- 1 heaped tsp of cinnamon
- I egg
- 2 tbsp of milk (three if you only have a small egg)
☐ With freshly washed but cool hands, mix together the flour with the baking powder and the salt.
☐ Rub in the butter, cupping your hands about six inches apart with fingers facing each other and passing the mixture over your fingers but under your thumbs. Do this until it feels like fine breadcrumbs. Be patient.
☐ Add the sugar, cinnamon and sultanas; mix all these dry ingredients together evenly.
☐ Mix the egg and milk separately in the small bowl and stir thoroughly with a fork.
☐ Add the liquid just mixed to the dry ingredients stirring initially with a fork, then mixing with your hands (this is the only bit that needs a little practice). Gather the dough into your hands and knead gently to achieve the overall consistency of modelling clay. This will need a few minutes to get right. If your mixture is too wet to stick to itself, add a sprinkle of flour. If your mixture is too dry and crumbly add a tiny amount of milk.
☐ Heat the bakestone or griddle on the top of your cooker on the largest ring at the highest setting. After a few minutes, place your hand over the centre of the bakestone (about three inches above it), then when it feels very warm to hot, turn the regulo down to maintain the heat.
☐ Split the dough into three and roll out one portion at a time on a well floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Use the cookie cutter to cut out as many cakes as possible, then gather up and re-roll the dough, cut out more and so on until all the dough is used up.
☐ By now your bakestone should be ready. Carefully lay a test cake in the centre with the help of a palette knife, it should make a gentle ‘sizzle’ sound. If it does not ‘sizzle’, turn up the heat and try a minute or two later. The smell of burning indicates the opposite! Cook for a few minutes on each side, trying to achieve the traditional ‘sandy’ texture.
☐ Lift off the cooked cakes and let them cool, replacing them with the uncooked ones until you have cooked them all. Sprinkle with sugar while they are still hot.
☐ Serve with good quality tea and enjoy. They can also be spread with butter, jam or honey and should be stored in an air-tight container and can stay fresh for several days.
COOK’S TIP: Replacing fruit with grated lemon or orange rind is just as delicious!