Old Things and New People [Welsh Cakes]

I had the privilege of visiting with two new  babies yesterday — my niece, Olivia, and a good friend’s little boy, Henry.

Olivia and Henry have the same birthday.

Olivia

Henry

I think it’s fitting to break out a recipe for the dish most loved by my family — Welsh Cakes.

Welsh Cakes are buttery, crumbly teatime treats loaded with currants and laced with sweet spices. They’re my grandma’s specialty and were my great-grandma’s before that.

There are two keys to great Welsh Cakes. First is keeping the dough on the dry side. It should be very easy to roll and not at all sticky. Second is frying them on very low heat. Otherwise, they burn easily.

Welsh Cakes

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp mace, ground
1 tsp  cinnamon, ground
1 1/2 cups currants
1/2 cup butter
4 tbsp shortening
4 eggs, lightly beaten
enough milk to bring the mixture together (4-5 tbsp)
butter and oil for frying

Mix together all of the dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl.

Rub the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers until it looks sandy. Toss in the currants and combine. Add all of the eggs at once and mix with your hands until well blended. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture just comes together into a pie dough sort of consistency. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.

Melt some butter in a little bit of vegetable oil over low heat. If you have a cast iron pan, now’s the time to break it out.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch. Punch rounds using a 2-inch round cutter.

Fry the rounds on low heat until golden brown on both sides. Add more butter and oil to the pan as needed.

Remove to a wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Makes 3-4 dozen.

When frying with butter, try adding a bit of vegetable oil, too. Vegetable oil has a much higher smoking point than butter, so it keeps the butter from burning.

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15 thoughts on “Old Things and New People [Welsh Cakes]

  1. I love the stories behind recipes, especially the ones that involve our families.. food isn’t just food, it it? It was always made or enjoyed with someone, somewhere .. love the photos!

  2. Made these this weekend, but substituted dried blueberries for currants. They were delicious! I actually ended up not needing to add any milk at all, because the consistency was already wet enough from the eggs.

  3. Pingback: Welsh cakes | Słodka Babka

  4. I tried this recipe but used my own home-rendered lard instead of the shortening. They are wonderful! I plan to make them a staple in my home and keep them on hand for tea! Thank you for posting the recipe! I hope you don’t mind but I pinned your site into one of my boards on Pinterest! Thank you again!

  5. Can these be made in advance? Or are they best when made fresh? I am doing a tea and would like to make them a day ahead of time, if possible

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