|Girdle, Griddle or Bakestone - a cast iron cooking plate for stove top baking|
Clare and Rob hunted down their own girdle or griddle in a second hand shop in South Dunedin. Clare proudly handed to us while we were in the garden a plate of Welsh tea cakes - they were delicious!
You can use a heavy, preferably caste iron, pan instead of the girdle to make any of the following recipes.
|Welsh Tea Cakes made by Clare|
Welsh Tea Cakes or Welsh Cake Johnnies
(From Alexa Johnson's recipe book "A Second Helping")
Welsh tea cakes are a cross between a pikelet and a girdle scone. They look and taste similar to a dense pikelet with a sugary topping but the preparation is more like a scone. The cakes freeze well so you can choose to make the full recipe and freeze half or just make half the recipe. The Welsh cakes Clare gave us were still warm and that's the best way to have them.
170 g butter
450 g self raising flour
170 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
extra caster sugar for dusting
Rub butter into flour (to save time I use my stick blender to do this), add currants and beaten eggs to make a stiff dough - adding a dash of milk if the dough is too dry.
Working with a 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured board to 7mm thick and use cutter of around 5cm width to make dough circles.
Cook 3-4 minutes on each side on a very gentle heat as would be on a coal or wood range top (not easily accomplished on a gas stove top). They will puff up as they cook.
Store in a folded tea towel and sprinkle with caster sugar as they come off the girdle.
Alternatively you can adapt Nan's Pikelet recipe...
|Nan's Pikelets with lemon zest and currants placed on Julia Deans & Anna Coddington souvenir teatowel|
In Alexa Johnston's book "Ladies a Plate" Irish writer John Irwin had this to say about Treacle Scones:"With a piece of buttered treacle bread in his hand a man may well feel like a god."
|It traditional to cut Girdle scones into triangles or as they say in Scotland, farls|
225 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice (I used instead Speculaas spice blend used in Holland)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
25 g butter
2 Tbsp treacle
150 ml buttermilk*
Put the Girdle on to heat slowly.
Sift the dry ingredients and either rub in butter with your fingers or do this step in a food processor if you need to save time.
Mix the treacle and buttermilk together and with a rounded knife gently and quickly until the dough comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly. Tip mix out onto floured surface, and sprinkle more flour on top.
Knead ever so briefly to make a rough circle . Rollout gently to just over 1 cm thick and cut into 6 or 8 farls. Place the scones on the girdle - do not oil the girdle.
The girdle should have been slowly heating up while you were preparing the scones. I have found that I need to put my gas at the very lowest point and using a simmer plate if you have one could help to distribute the heat evenly, avoiding burning the outside while leaving the inside uncooked.
|Girdle Scones after the first turn|
To keep them crusty you can cool them on a wire rack, or if you want to keep them warm and soft wrap them in a tea towel.
*You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 Tbsp lemon juice in 150 ml of full cream milk stirring it on the kitchen bench for 10 minutes to thicken. Or make half and half mix of skim milk and and low fat yoghurt.
They certainly went down a treat today with our visitors. We enjoyed them buttered and with plum jam.
You now have three choices of recipe to try some stove top baking. Enjoy and let me know how you get on.