March 26, 2011

Oatcakes from Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens

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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.

14 comments :

  1. I'm sending this recipe to my daugher at college -- this is something she would love, and she is very much into baking right now.
    Thanks!

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  2. I love oats and they are really good for you. I don't like margarine either so, like you, I wouldn't use it. I'm sure Crisco would work as well as the lard. I'll have to give these a try and send some off with my guy and pretend we live in the Highlands.

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  3. fine oats huh...
    I actually was looking for a recipe for some steel cut Scottish oats I have, which are not fine. I wonder what difference it would make...

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  4. Yum - I bet it is good with tea.... :)

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  5. They look delicious! I would love one with a little bit of jam.

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  6. I love the link between history, food and your home area. Your oatcakes sound good. Wish I had a couple right now.

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  7. I am so going to try making these. They sound good, hearty and filling. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    *smiles*

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  8. I love that: "basically oatmeal in a cookie shape" ;) My fave recipe with oatmeal is the so-called Sivananda yoga cookie.

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  9. BookGirl- Hope she enjoys them!

    Beth- I haven't used Crisco is ages either. I'll have to check it out.

    Patricia- Yes, except for the fat! But that's ok.

    Caite- I don't think I would. Steel cut oats are pretty tough. Rolled oats spun in a food processor would work though.

    Sheila- It is!

    Carol- Thanks.

    Margot- Yes, I was feeling nostalgic.

    Kim- You're welcome!

    Chinoiseries- I'll have to look that one up.

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  10. That looks good! I've been seeing things lately that indicate that lard or butter from grass-fed animals might be much healthier than we think -- with a better balance of omega-3s and 6s than our modern diet gives us.

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  11. I've read about oatcakes so often but have never seen a recipe. Thanks! I think I'd use all butter. :<) I have a book called Out Of Nova Scotia Gardens - I wonder if it part of the same series?

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  12. Those are totally new to me, but they look good to me!

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  13. You always have such tasty sounding recipes! I'm going to have to bake this weekend now! :)

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