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.
Makes 7 to 8 buns
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!