Saturday, December 15, 2007

Scotch Christmas Bun.

The Vintage Christmas Recipes list just keeps on growing in spite of itself. The latest addition to its family is 'A Scotch Christmas Bun', sometimes known as "Black-Bun". Some recipes are for a fruit cake-type mixture in a pastry shell - a sort of cake that is a pie or a pie that thinks it is a cake. Mistress Dod's recipe is for a raised yeast dough, some left plain for the outside 'wrapping', the remainder enriched and used as filling. It is from The Cook and Housewife's Manual: A Practical System of Modern Domestic Cookery, by By Mistress Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone); 1847.

A Scotch Christmas Bun, from Mrs. Fraser's Cookery.
Take half a peck of flour, keeping out a little to work it up with ; make a hole in the middle of the flour, and break in sixteen ounces of butter ; pour in a mutchkin (pint) of warm water, and three gills of yeast, and work it up into a smooth dough. If it is not wet enough, put in a little more warm water : then cut off one-third of the dough, and lay it aside for the cover. Take three pounds of stoned raisins, three pounds of cleaned currants, half a pound of blanched almonds cut longwise; candied orange and citron peel cut, of each eight ounces; half an ounce of cloves, an ounce of cinnamon, and two ounces of ginger, all beat and sifted. Mix the spices by themselves, then spread out the dough ; lay the fruit upon it; strew the spices over the fruit, and mix all together. When it is well kneaded, roll out the cover. Cover it neatly, cut it round the sides, prickle it, and bind it with paper to keep it in shape ; set it in a pretty quick oven, and, just before you take it out, glaze the top with a beat egg.

These buns, weighing from four to eight, ten, twelve, and sixteen, or more pounds, are still sent from Edinburgh, from the depots of Littlejohn and Mackie, to all parts of the three kingdoms. Every country town, rural village, and neighbourhood in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has its favourite holiday-cake, or currant-loaf, under some such name as " Lady Bountiful's loaf," " Mrs. Notable's cake," "Miss Thrifty's bun," &c. &c. We do not pretend to give receipts for all these - the formula is endless - and they are all good. … That they be well raised and well fired is all besides that is of any importance. They should be baked in a dome-shaped fluted mould or Turk's cap, but look still more imposing at holiday-times, formed like large, respectable, old-
fashioned household loaves. Leavened dough should be bought for them.

[If you have a great recipe for the fruit-cake version that you would like to share, do please let us know!]

1 comment:

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Well, this sounds like a treat that would make the people who like cake, and the people who like pie equally happy! Happy Christmas!