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Fat Rascals

I was laying in bed last night, looking through this little cookery book of mine. (Doesn't everyone go to bed with a cookbook???) I love the National Trust Cookbooks because they are filled with lovely traditional recipes and that is what I adore most about the food over here in the UK . . . the traditional recipes.

I thought it had been a while since I cooked something really traditional and the name Fat Rascal just jumped out at me. How could I resist??? Who wouldn't want to bake and eat something called a Fat Rascal???

The description on the recipe page said that they were fruity buns, with brown crusts, originally hailing from the Cleveland area between County Durham and Yorkshire, thought to date back to the mid 19th century. I was hooked, and so this morning as soon as I got my morning chores out of the way . . . I dug out my scales and ingredients.

Very easy to make they were . . . and it wasn't long before I had a pan of them baking in the oven. They are delicious as well, being oh so scrummy.

I would call them a cross between a scone/pastry/biscuit . . . as they were a little bit like each of those things, but not entirely any one of them, if that makes any sense. I only know they went down really well for our "Elevenses" today and I would deffo make them again . . .

I am in a bit of a quandry though . . . as when I went online to look up a bit of their history to see if I could find out anything else about them . . . this is what I came up with . . .

Oodles and oodles of cakes and recipes which looked pretty much like this! (This is an image from Betty's Tearoom where they sell them at 4 for £7 . . . Pricey I know!) They look nothing at all like what I baked . . .

And the recipes that I found including this one by James Martin (which looks very scrummy indeed, I might add) are nothing at all like the one I found in my National Trust "Good Old Fashioned Teatime Treats" cookbook. (by Jane Pettigrew). The others had baking powder, self raising flour, lard, spices, eggs . . . etc. in theirs. The one I made is a bit of a plain Jane.

So which is the real Fat Rascal???? I don't really know!!

I only know for sure that if you ate enough of these tasty cakes that I did bake this morning . . . you would end up as a bit of a Fat Rascal yourself . . . coz they are quite, quite tasty indeed, and went down a real treat!

If you are looking for the bejeweled version, with cherries and the like . . . go for James Martin's . . . but if you are happy with something that is buttery, simple, short (almost like a shorbread biscuit) and stogged full of sweet currants, then go for this one which I baked here today.

Either way, I doubt you'll be disappointed. It all depends on what you are looking for . . . simple wins with me everytime.

*Fat Rascals*
Makes 7 to 8 buns
Printable Recipe

Delicious fruity buns from the North East. Perfect with a hot cuppa!

225g of plain flour sifted (2 cups)
pinch of salt
4 ounces butter, softened (1/2 cup)
40g of caster sugar (3 1/2 TBS)
50g dried currants (1/3 cup)
50 - 75ml (2 to 3 fluid ounces) milk and water mixed
more caster sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a baking sheet and set it aside.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the salt. Drop in the butter, cut into bits. Rub it into the flour until it is all rubbed in and the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and currants.  Stir in enough milk/water with a fork to give you a firm dough. Pat out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch rounds with a sharp round cutter. Place on the prepared baking tray. Dust lightly with caster sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until pale golden.

Remove from the oven and carefully lift onto a wrire rack to cool completely before serving.

In The Cottage today Caramel Apple Cake. Bad picture I know . . . but one VERY delicious cake!
Marie Rayner
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  1. Hi Marie, In Australia we call these rock cakes, as we make them less uniform so that they resemble little rocks.

    Hugs, Kaye xoxox

  2. Looks really tasty!! These biscuits remind me our traditional "Bolo Rei" [King's Cake] we eat on All Saints' day which was yesterday (6th Jan) here in Portugal.

    Just google "Bolo Rei" and you'll find loads of pics ;)

    I'll try this recipe, looks delicious and perfect for a tea break!

    Have a lovely weekend

  3. What a brilliant name for these. They look really tasty too ;0)

  4. When I was at uni in Yorkshire I often went to Bettys and had a fat rascal. They were delicious, a sort of cross between a scone and a rock cake. So Yummy. Yours look fab!

  5. Yummy! I will be trying this recipe.
    Have you ever been to Betty's, Marie? Pricey, but oh so delicious. The first time we took our son, he decided he was going to marry one of the waitresses because he thought she might get to take leftovers home at the end of the day!

  6. Marie, I was looking for something to take for our church coffee social in the morning and these will be perfect. Thanks. Doesn't everyone go to bed with at least one cookbook!

  7. I have had a fat rascal in Betty's - just delish - though I think yours look better than Betty's! Hope you and yours are well and happy and that you had a good Christmas and new year - Lucie x

  8. Hi Marie, we used to call these rock scones, usually when our Mother left them in the oven too long! Love your blog too, especially the little tips on the sidebar - thanks x

  9. That book and those buscits look lovely! x

  10. Yay! I'm ready for something a little new at the breakfast table. I like how you cut them with a fluted cutter.

  11. Being curious, I decided to look up 'fat rascals'. The first three entries referenced Betty of Yorks', the fourth entry was yours ;) Perhaps the tea shop fancied up the biscuit with cherries & nuts to entice the buyer?

  12. They are beautiful your little fat Rascals:)

  13. I love the name of this, they look wonderful, I think they would be a hit here as well, have a great saturday marie, take care, love, laurie

  14. I would be interested to see what you think of my Fat Rascals recipe Marie ~ posted on my blog (03/08/2011).....they are very similar to Betty's Fat Rascals! Those look amazing, but so different to what I make....just goes to show you how diverse British baking is, and how GOOD that is too! I ADORE all the National Trust Books, and YES I do go to bed with a cookbook most nights!
    Lovely post!

  15. Fat Rascals! I love it! These look so good - I can't wait to try them.

  16. A big thank you from here in the USA for translating the measurements....since finding your blogs right before Christmas I've made 6 of your recipes!
    Every one has been delicious, look forward to many more....
    Thanks again!

  17. I'll go with your plain jane fat rascal -- love the name! I don't think a batch would be safe alone in the house with me.

  18. I know I could eat all of these on a cold winter day with a cup of coffee! Thanks for the recipe! ♥

  19. Oh my looks like I'm going to be busy!
    All the recipes look amazing and so tempting. I think my boys are going to be very happy (fat not fluffy)bunnies ^..^ xoxo

  20. Yes Marie, I often go to be with cookbooks. I adore cookbooks. However, I try not to buy any new ones as I've no more room. But I'm always printing off new recipes from the net and fellow bloggers; my binders are growing fatter and fatter!

  21. I'm from the North-East and home of the Fat Rascal and your recipe is more like one I've seen in a traditional cook book from the area - the only thing I would add is an egg wash over the top before sprinkling on the sugar on but this doesn't make them any more yummy!! This is a lovely recipe..x

  22. So happy to find the Fat Rascals tea cookie recipe! A friend made these for President's day. Teddy Roosevelt supposedly adored them.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  23. Found your blog and recipe in my surfing around looking for Fat Rascals.... now I'm confused as well. Which to try...hmmm..okay then... yours for more simple and the last one I saw for a more dolled up version... either one will suffice for a treat with a cuppa tea I'm sure. thanks for the info and recipe...a fun read ...

  24. Thanks for this, I was looking for a recipe for my mother-in-law's fat rascals and all I could find were recipes for the Betty's variety. My mother-in-law's were like yours much simpler, but still simply delicious. These are fantastic.

  25. Thanks for this, I was looking for a recipe for my mother-in-law's fat rascals and all I could find were recipes for the Betty's variety. My mother-in-law's were like yours much simpler, but still simply delicious. These are fantastic.

  26. Yours are the more authentic ones. The ones with maraschino cherries and faces are some overly sweet over complicated newcomer

  27. Thanks theisskb. I think I prefer the plain Jane old fashioned ones too!

  28. I just received the National Trust teatime book here in my far-away home in America. Made the Fat Rascals recipe and they came out delish - lovely, simple cakes to have with tea or coffee.

    1. Aren't they just lovely Daisy! Fabulously delish!

  29. Hi Marie, Correct me if I'm too blind to see it, but I can't see where you add the caster sugar in to the mix? I assume it is mixed in with the flour in the beginning?

    1. Well spotted Gina. I must have been really tired when I was writing this! I have fixed the recipe to show when you mix in the sugar. You stir it in after you rub the butter into the flour, along with the currants. xo


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