I was never a particularly rebellious teenager. That said, I do remember being told off by my dad when I was thirteen for reading a book in the back of the car as we drove across the Grand Canyon National Park. I remember having looked out the window and seen the astonishing beauty of the scenery, feeling overwhelmed and then delving back into my historical fiction book about the area that I had bought earlier that day. Language and books have always held a spot very close to my heart. While translating I used to spend hours procrastinating with Roget’s Thesaurus to try and find the perfect word to convey the meaning of the text. This may seem to have no connection whatsoever to the Fat Rascals that I made with Ophelia last week, but the word rascal got me thinking of what other words I could use for them. So, drum roll please… we made Massive Scoundrels! It made me chuckle so much to myself that I had to share!
For those of you who haven’t heard of Fat Rascals before, they are a rich scone and rock cake hybrid from Yorkshire. I don’t come from Yorkshire, but my sister and I had a lovely mini break there before I had the kids, when I was between jobs. We went to the iconic Betty’s Tearooms and had a Fat Rascal and tea. It was exquisite and I still hold very fond memories of that trip and the Fat Rascal all these years later. So when I was hunting for something I could make with Ophelia and was thinking of scones, I decided we would try and replicate Betty’s yummy Fat Rascals. The exact recipe Betty’s Tearooms use is a closely guarded secret, but I did some research and drew elements from a couple of recipes I found in my cookbook collection and online. They did also resemble my memories so I was happy.
These are excellent to make with children as they can get involved in pretty much every stage from rubbing in butter, pouring cream, squishing and squashing to form the dough and counting out and tearing the glacé cherries and counting out the almonds to make faces on top of them.
For the dough
- 125g plain flour
- 125g self raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 100g unsalted butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 150g dried fruit (we use a mixture of raisins and sultanas)
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1/8tsp nutmeg
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 egg
- 60ml double cream
- 6 cherries halved
- 18 whole almonds
- 1 beaten egg
- Preheat the oven to 200°c or 180°c fan. Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or greaseproof paper.
- Sieve the flowers into a large bowl. I tend to let the children alternate between gently tapping the side of the sieve and gently stirring the flours in the sieve.
- Stir in the baking powder.
- Add the butter and ‘tickle’ it into the flours until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruit and mix until fully combined.
- Pour in the cream and the beaten egg and mix gently before bringing together with your hands. Knead until a dough has formed.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces and then make three equally-sized pieces from each of the two pieces of dough. You should have 6 lumps.
- Shape each lump with your hands until they look like large rounds.
- Brush the second beaten egg over the Fat Rascals.
- Tear the 6 cherries in half and use two pieces on each for eyes.
- Use three almonds on each to make a smile.
- Place in the oven for between 15 and 20 minutes. They are done when golden brown. Leave to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes before moving them.
When these came out of the oven and Ophelia had a look at her handiwork and she exclaimed: ‘They look like gulper eels!’ In case you are not as familiar with sea creatures as my Octonaut-loving two year old, a gulper eel is an eel with a mouth which looks disproportionate to the size of its thin tail. It’s animation in the show portrays a creature with beady eyes and small, but very prominent pointy teeth. So I suppose she was right, they do look a bit like gulper eels in their own little way…