There are three constants for every child growing up in Scotland:
1. It will rain. All the time.
2. The national football team (soccer for you Americans) will lose. Sometimes spectacularly, and then sometimes embarrassingly but the victory is always denied. However as a true Scot you always keep supporting them and believing that success is just around the corner.
3. Everyone bakes. From Aunties and mothers to girlfriends, grannies and neighbours there always seems to be something newly baked in the kitchen for you to eat and it's great.
So I thought I would share with you some of my favourite recipes from traditional Scottish baking. It is important to point out that some recipes are a family secret and cannot be divulged to anyone on pain of death, so they are sadly not in this article.
Fortunately they are many variations on the same recipe. So although I cannot reveal ancient family secrets the elders of my clan have, grudgingly, allowed me permission to print these adapted recipes and share them with the world. They may not be 100% genuine, for that you'll have to come and visit Scotland, but they are still fantastic.
So here is a list of my favourite baking recipes. Enjoy!
Scones are small circular cakes typically served with jam and/or cream. It is a bone of contention here in Great Britain of what the pronunciation of these delicious cakes should be.
The absolute correct way to say it is 'skon' (rhyming with pawn) and not 'skoan' like the English say it (rhyming with lawn.)
Right, now I've got that off my chest here's the recipe.
1 tsp Baking Powder
8 oz (120g) or 1 cup Self-Raising Flour
2 oz (55g) or 1/4 cup softened butter
1 oz (25g) or 2 rounded tbsp caster sugar
1/4 Pint (150ml) or 2/3 Cup of Milk
Set oven to Gas Mark 7-425F - 220C .
Put the flour and the baking powder into a bowl together and gently rub the soften butter into the mixture.
Now add the sugar and add a little of the milk every minute or so while stirring. Stir until it is a stiff dough and try not to overmix and this effects the scones and makes them come out tasting dry.
You can at this point add raisins if you wish a fruit scone.
Roll the mixture out onto a floured surface and cut into rounds. You can use a cookie cutter here or, as my Gran used to do, a cup or mug.
Place in the oven for arond ten minutes until golden.
One traditional cake that is renound for being scottish is shortbread. Traditionally made from sugar, flour and butter this is a fantastic treat and one that is enjoyed throughout the world...and quite right too.
1 pound unsalted butter
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
This is a fruit filled cake that originated in the 19th century from eh...Dundee obviously.
100 g currants
100 g seedless raisins
100 g sultanas
100 g chopped orange
25 g blanched almonds, chopped
275 g plain flour
225 g butter
225 g light soft brown sugar
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
whole blanched almonds, to decorate
Grease a round cake tin and place a sheet of greaseproof paper in the bottom.
Mix all the fruits, the peel and the almonds together with the flour.
Mix the butter until soft and to this mix in the sugar and the rinds of the lemon and the orange.
Carefully mix in the eggs and stir.
Spoon the mixture into the baking tin.
Arrange almonds in circles around the top of the cake.
Bake at 325F/160°C/Gas Mark 3 for 2 ½ - 3 hours, and let it cool down for half an hour after, while the cake is still in the tin.
Remove it after the time has expired and set it on a wire rack to cool completely.
Scottish tablet is a delicious fudge-like sweet (candy) that is a must for all those with a sweet tooth because it's almost all sugar.
2lbs (1 kg) or 4 cups Granulated Sugar
4 oz (113g) or 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (NOT Margarine)
One 14oz (396g) can of Condensed Milk (NOT Evaporated Milk)
8 fl. oz (227ml) of Milk
1 fl. oz (3 dssp) Natural Vanilla Essence
Grease a (11 x 19) baking tray.
Take a large steel saucepan ( the ingredients swell while cooking) and put in it the sugar and milk.
Stir together. Add the butter and condensed milk and stir again.
Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat while stirring occasionally. Once boiled reduce the heat until the mixture is boiling gently.
Keep it boiling for around 1/2 an hour while stirring occasionally.
Remove saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla essence.
Beat the mixture for 4 - 5 minutes until the mixture starts to feel 'stiff'.
Pour the mixture into the baking tray that you prepared at the beginning.
Allow mixture to cool a little and cut it into blocks. It will be easier to cut when slightly cooled but if you wait until it is completely cooled before cutting it'll just break rather than cut.
Tablet is ready to eat when fully cooled.