This recipe was given to me by our landlords in New Haven. They were odd folk. Mark was a pagan, once the Pursuivant of Arms for the New London Barony of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Becca was into EST and the Hunger Project. My husband and I called them the Venusians. We pretended that their pickup truck, which was red and named Fafnir, was really a spaceship, and that when they disappeared for the weekend it was because they were phoning home. They were by far the coolest landlords we ever had, and they were also into good food.
WELSH CAKES A LA VENUSIENNE
2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t ground allspice
1/4 t salt
Sift these dry ingredients together.
(Actually, I always just put ’em in a bowl and use a french whisk or pastry cutter to fluff them up and mix them, but that’s because every sifter I ever owned was a bloodthirsty machine that bit me.)
Add to the dry ingredients:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c crisco or lard
Cut the fats into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.
1/4 c milk
1/2 c currants —not raisins!
Stir in the currants. Stir the egg with the milk in a separate bowl. Add egg and milk to the flour mixture and blend into a dough. Form the dough into a ball.
Roll the dough flat on a dishcloth sprinkled with flour. Cut it into squares or cookie-shapes or what-have-you.
Fry the cutouts on a smoking-hot, heavily buttered pan until browned on both sides, turning once. The more butter in the pan, the better they taste! Serve hot with more softened butter to spread on top.
This dough is not fragile. You can reshape / remash the fragments and it won’t hurt it.