Apple trees have rewarded their owners this year with a very rich crop, so I was pleased when my cousin turned up laden like a packhorse with a heavy bag on either side, full of pickings from her trees. Nobody knows any more what variety these are, but they make very tasty baked apples, apple pies and crumbles. There were also two enormous spherical courgettes, most welcome additions.
I peeled, cored and sliced for a good half hour and produced enough stewed apple to make a pie, a crumble and fill a plastic container for the freezer. Being in a domestic goddess mood, I made extra crumble mixture, intending to store the surplus in a jar in the fridge until it was needed, but my good intentions were thwarted by a post on Facebook from Wales for Welsh cakes.
My crumble mixture included porridge oats and ground almonds, which are not in the original authentic Welsh cakes mix, and my mother suggested adding a drop of rum – I suppose whiskey would be more fitting for the Scottish accent, but rum goes with the dried fruit. Quantities aren’t precise. You can vary the proportion of oats and nuts, as long as you keep approximately double the amount of flour mixture to fat. I also have a heavy hand with the spices, adding extra cinnamon and nutmeg, but that isn’t to everyone’s taste.
These would originally have been made like drop scones on a griddle, and if you have one you can have fun making these. If unexpected guests turn up, especially if they have children to lend a hand, and you have no cake to offer you could whip up a pan full in no time. Keep them small, and they cook very quickly in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, but you do need an eagle eye to ensure they are turned over before they burn. If you are using a non-stick pan, the butter isn’t really necessary but it does enhance the flavour.
When they are ready (crispy on the outside, a bit soft in the middle, but do make sure they are cooked through) let them cool. They should keep for about a week in an airtight tin, but that is only hearsay: ours barely survived cooling, and indeed more than one was eaten still warm.
Welsh cakes with a Scottish accent
4 oz (125 g) margarine or butter
4 (125 g) oz SR flour
2 (60 g) oz porridge oats
2 (60 g)oz ground almonds
3 (100 g) oz sugar
2 (60 g) oz raisins (or any other dried fruit)
tsp mixed spice
I tsp rum
little milk to bind if necessary
Mix flour, oats, sugar and nuts and rub fat in to make a crumble mixture,
Mix in currants and add egg and rum. Mix to a soft dough – consistency of short crust pastry – adding a splash of milk if it’s too dry.
Roll out to about ½ “ thick, cut into rounds with a pastry cutter and cook in a heavy-bottomed frying pan with a little butter (not too hot – don’t let them burn!) until golden brown and cooked through. About 3 minutes each side. Allow to cool on a wire grid and store in an airtight container.