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.
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.
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.