Thursday, March 15, 2012
With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I thought it was time to try something from an Irish cookbook I picked up some time ago. The book promises authentic Irish recipes, collected from cooks across Ireland. And for the most part, it delivered -- these taste how authentic scones have always been described -- not sweet, not salty like biscuits, actually rather bland in flavor, a peasant concoction that's best as a carrier for jam.
I might make these again, and they definitely get points for authenticity, but to my American palate, they really could've used some salt (there isn't any at all in the recipe). Next time, I might make a more common, biscuit-like recipe instead, 'cause like many foods from my heritage (see also black pudding/kishka, steak and kidney pie, haggis, etc.), just because it's what my ancestors ate doesn't mean that I've inherited a taste for it.
Adapted slightly from "The Country Cooking of Ireland"
6 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, cut into pieces, cold
3/4 c currants or raisins
1 3/4 c milk
1. Mix the flour, sugar and baking soda together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the currants or raisins, then add the milk and stir just until the dough comes together. (This totally didn't work for me -- I ended up dumping it all out onto a floured counter and kneading it together, 'cause it just couldn't be mixed in a bowl.) Form into a rough ball.
2. Divide into 2 pieces and form each into a ball. Arrange on parchment-lined cookie sheets at least an inch apart.
3. Beat together the egg and a teaspoon of water and brush the tops of the dough balls.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a rack to cool.