Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welsh Cakes

Fact: My family has done quite a bit of genealogy, and has turned up ancestors in nearly every part of the Caucasian world. (I'm quite the mutt!) Including Wales.

Fact: March 1 is St. David's Day, a rather important day in Wales as St. David is the patron saint there.

Fact: On St. David's Day, it is traditional to eat welsh cakes.

It probably won't surprise you to know that, prior to seeing a delicious looking pin on Pinterest on March 1, I had no idea St. David had a day, much less a patronage, and I had never heard of a welsh cake.

Being the adaptable person that I am, I decided on the spot that welsh cakes must be a part of that evening's meal. They are absolutely delicious. Moist, chewy, dense, studded with fruit. Picture a pan-fried scone, and you are pretty close. I turned to Joy of Baking to find a recipe, as she has never ever steered me wrong. This time was no different. I made a few alterations, based on what I had on hand and some dietary preferences. While Joy of Baking used sultanas, butter and milk, I used Craisins, butter, and soy milk. (Next time, I think I will try coconut oil instead of the butter.) When you throw these lovelies onto a hot griddle, the butter melts out, frying the exterior to golden perfection. The inside remains moist and toothsome. I'm sure you won't think badly of me if I told you that we ate the entire batch for dinner and when my son asked to have these again the next morning for breakfast, I happily complied.

Welsh Cakes
(Adapted from Joy of Baking)

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries (ie - Craisins)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup soy milk, as needed

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in the cold butter until the entire mixture appears crumbly and pebbly (just like making a pie). Add your dried cranberries. Add the beaten egg, and enough soy milk to make a rollable dough.

Sprinkle a countertop or cutting board with flour, and throw your dough down. Knead it into a ball, and flatten it out with the palm of your hand to approximately 1/2" thickness. Using a 3" biscuit cutter or glass, cut out rounds. Cut straight down, without twisting, for the tallest cakes possible after baking. Gather up the scraps and re-roll as many times as necessary to use all the dough, handling it as little as possible each time.

Heat a griddle over medium heat (cast iron is traditional), and cook your cakes until golden on both sides and done in the middle, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar if desired. Can also be spread with jam, but that is completely optional. Best warm, but also quite delicious after they have cooled down!