You didn't think I was going to wait till we'd actually moved to Wales before I blogged about welsh cakes, did you?
I absolutely LOVE these babies - not quite biscuits, not quite cakes, and pretty easy to knock up a passable batch (although don't remind me of the total fail we had trying to make some while we were camping in the summer. You remember the summer? You know, when the sun shone, and you could leave the house without being wrapped up in enough gortex to waterproof the Royal Navy. You don't? Actually, I'm not sure I do either...)
But (as I often do) I digress...
Welsh cakes. I'm not sure if this is an authentic recipe - I realised too late that I'd run out of straight caster sugar, so used some vanilla sugar. I certainly don't have a welsh cake stone to cook them on. The Husband tells of a family welsh cake stone, but this appears to have been lost somewhere along the way, consigned to family tales of Auntie Pam and her Olympian ability to churn out plates of welsh cakes at the drop of a hat. I never met Auntie Pam - a formidable lady of the Valleys who, the story goes, greeted her husband every day after work with a plate of fresh welsh cakes... While I'm sure I'll never live up to that, it feels right that I should get to grips with some of the basics of the Welsh menu, and welsh cakes seem like a good place to start.
I'd have loved to have seen Auntie Pam's welsh cake stone - and kept it in the family - and it goes without saying that I'd have loved to have tried her cakes. Still, the griddle plate that came with my lovely cooker - the cooker I will shortly be saying good bye to (sob) - does the job admirably, and the welsh cakes that Pink & I made today were pretty good. I picked up a tip that you should make sure the griddle plate or pan that you cook them on doesn't get too hot. Of course, it makes sense, but in the past, I may have been guilty of using an overly hot pan, meaning that you had to forgo a fully cooked cake, or risk burning.
Pink and I had a surprise opportunity to do some after school baking, and this is what we made. Who needs healthy baked potatoes for tea anyway?
225g plain flour
½tsp baking powder
a generous pinch (or 2) of allspice
A pinch salt
100g unsalted butter
75g vanilla sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling at the end
1 large egg
A little milk to bind
Sift the flour, baking powder, allspice and salt together into a bowl.
Chop the butter into pieces and then rub into the flour mixture.
Stir in the sugar and sultanas.
Lightly beat the egg then add it to the dry ingredients, and mix together to form a dough. Add a little milk if necessary - in the end I used about 3 tsps.
Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to the thickness of about a £1 coin, then cut out using a biscuit cutter, re-rolling and cutting the dough till it's all used up.
Heat your griddle pan, welsh cake stone etc and cook the cakes gently on both sicdes till golden and cooked through. Keep them warm as they come off the cooker, and then when all are cooked, sprinkle with a little more sugar and eat.
I think we all ought to have a look at that photo again. Don't you?