This week I decided to bake oatcakes, that staple of touristy establishments around the island (and I suspect all over the maritimes). I've heard it called the Cape Breton oatcake, as well as the Scottish oatcake; considering that country's love of oats I can imagine the recipe came over on the boat or at least out of the mind of a lass of that heritage. Wherever they evolved from, they are perfect pioneer food. Not only are they made from the simple ingredients found in any kitchen, they are portable. They're basically oatmeal in a cookie shape. You can picture a lassie handing a bunch to her man as he heads out to the pasture for the day.
There are many variations, just about any locally made cookbook has a recipe submitted by a proud home baker. I used the recipe found in Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens with a slight modification.
Mix your dry ingredients together: 3 cups each of flour and oats (fine ones- I don't think mine were fine enough), 1 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt. Then you cut in your fat- they suggested 2 cups margarine. I do not like margarine so I experimented a bit and ended up using 1 cup lard* and 1/2 butter (room temp). I used my hands to mix it all together. Finally you add in 1/2 cup of cold water and mix until combined. The result is a really stiff dough. Pat the mixture into a ball, then roll out on a floured surface. Cut out with a biscuit cutter (a juice glass in this case). Bake in a 350F oven until golden- about 18 mins. (I like my oatcake to have some colour, makes them more appetizing to look at!)
Yum! Next time I'll roll it a bit thinner so they'll be crispier. They are a dry cookie so they make a perfect pairing with a cup of tea. I suppose you could put some jam on them, but I like them just the way they are.
*This was the first time in years I used lard.