30th June 2010, on the menu today...

Teacakes

Teacakes ToastedTeacake

I love my bread machine: weigh out a few ingredients, press 'start', walk away and, however many hours later, come back to a perfectly baked bread every time. But it isn't just the bread that I love my machine for, it's also all the pastry and dough-based foods you can make. One such thing is the classic English Teacake - a yeast-based bun with dried fruit scattered throughout. Making these the other day (see pic above) and promptly enjoying them with family under the pergola on a beautiful summer's day, I just knew I had to review them for TGBD.

Musings:

  • Buns and bun-shaped delights. Iced Buns, Bath Buns, Marlborough Buns, Chelsea Buns, Teacakes etc. I find all those round, doughy treats involving various dried fruit and, in some cases, spices absolutely irresistible. As usual, it was father love for these type of things that got me hooked and any trip to M&S resulted in a good stock of these things. The hardest thing was choosing as we went down the aisles. That said, it was often teacakes that got the nod from my mother because they didn't look as sugary and generally as unhealthy as the others.

  • Teatime snack or breakfast treat. Currently I am running with the excuse that, being homemade, the teacakes I've made won't keep for very long and thus must be eaten quickly! Indeed, growing up, any excuse was good enough to start tucking in to these beauties. Failing that, I would just wait for the parents to not be around, sneak one out of the packet, toast and apply a few layers of butter before scampering off to enjoy.

Taste: The key to bring out the flavours in a teacake is to toast them under the grill. You get a beautifully crunchy top with the richness the butter imparts segueing into softer dough riddled with plump, sweet sultanas and currants (balanced, in some recipes, with the tang of candid peel).

History (as per the Wikipedia entry):

In Yorkshire among other Northern areas, a teacake is often a round bread roll which is cut in half to make sandwiches. They do not usually contain any sort of dried fruit.

In other parts of the United Kingdom, a teacake is sometimes a light, sweet, yeast-based bun containing dried fruits such as currants, sultanas or peel. It is typically split, toasted, buttered, and served with tea. It is flat and circular, with a smooth brown upper surface and a somewhat lighter underside. Although most people refer to a tea cake as a cake containing fruit, in certain areas of West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, the name currant teacake is used to distinguish fruited 'cakes' from plain bread rolls. In Kent the tea cake is known as a "huffkin", which is often flavoured with hops, especially at the time of harvesting hops in September. In Sussex a luxurious version of the tea cake with added aromatics such as nutmeg, cinnamon and rose water is still sometimes made and called a manchet or Lady Arundel's Manchet.

 

 

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