Wednesday, 5 March 2008

St David's Day in France

It's the weekend of March 1st and so we celebrate Wales whilst being in France. We ate leek and potato soup for lunch. The little Welsh cakes, they really are drop scones, were eaten like hot cakes during the tea break of the dancing lesson!! And my cousin Heather's Damson Jam was outstandingly excellent and earned the praises of our French friends! We have eaten the toasted slices of Fruit Loaf served with the damson jam or Edna's Marmalade for breakfast! I have had to translate the recipes into French!

Rub together the 125g butter and 250g of self-raising flour. Put the 75g castor sugar, Pinch of cinnamon, 100g raisins into the mixture. Add 1 egg or milk to form a dough. Cover and refrigerate for about half an hour. Roll out the mixture until it is about 1cm thick. Cut out circles.Cook the cakes in a dry frying pan or on a bakestone WITHOUT using oil or butter until they are browned on both sides. Serve alone or with butter, confiture, honey, cream .... as you wish!

I found a recipe which seems to be the same as for Bara Brith, an Irish tea bread. The recipe was for a huge quantity so I have adapted it! Even this makes two smallish round loaves! This is my version.
375g plain flour
1 good teaspoon dried yeast mixed with 1 tsp sugar and a little warm water
125ml approximately of warm milk or mix of milk/yoghurt/water (your choice)
50g sugar
200g butter
half teaspoon vanilla powder/essence and the same of salt and the same of cardamom seeds (not the pods) which could be crushed/ground
75g ground/chopped/flaked almonds
125g chopped candied citrus peel
150g raisins
zest and juice of lemon / orange (I added some fresh plum juice!!)
Add the yeast mixture to a well in the centre of the sieved flour. Cover with some of the flour and leave somewhere warm for about 15 minutes. Melt the butter and add this and the rest of the ingredients to the floury mix. Knead the dough until it feels like a good texture. If it is a bit dry add a little more liquid. If it is too wet add a little more flour as you knead it. Form inot two round balls and place ona greased baking tray. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to stand in a warm place until risen. Brush with some milk. Bake in a pre-heated oven 190°C or 180°C if fan-assisted for about 45 minutes. Some raisins may get a little burnt and fall from the bread. Leave to cool. Eat whilst warm. Use butter, confiture or honey, cream as you wish!!
You could use cinnamon instead of cardamom.
You could soak the raisins in brandy or tea for several hours before you make the recipe.

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