Scottish Oatcakes1/08/2014 09:38:00 PM
I love Scottish oatcakes - they're so delicious, plain and hearty. I especially like them on a cheese platter, but you can eat these oaty biscuits in any number of ways - with jam and butter, or even plain. Many years ago, I used to work in a fancy schmancy food store, and a sweet old lady came in once to buy a packet of oatcakes. As I scanned the box, I asked if she was planning to have them with cheese.
"Oh goodness, no!" she replied, laughing. "I like to eat one each evening with a glass of water as I watch the news."
Anyhoo, as I mentioned in December's Unblogged Files, some friends hosted a CHEESEMAS party after Christmas, where we all brought cheeses and other fabulous tidbits and ate an alarming amount of cheese. I really wanted to bring oatcakes, but for some reason they're ridiculously expensive at the shops - something like ten or twelve dollars for a small packet. (I rarely bought them even when I used to get a staff discount). In contrast, a gigantic bag of oats is like, a dollar. Easy decision made - I baked them from scratch!
I googled a few recipes, and came to the conclusion that oatcakes are made much in the same way as shortcrust pastry (i.e. flour and butter with a little water to bind), just with oats replacing most of the flour and a lower ratio of butter-to-dry ingredients.
I used a processor to rub the butter into the flour and oats, and to whizz up the oats a little - I used quick oats, but was still worried the dough wouldn't clump together otherwise.
|Rolled out dough|
After the first biscuits were cut out, I found it quite difficult to bring the dough together and re-roll it, as it's quite dry. Hot tip: cut as many out of the first round of dough as you can!
|Ready for baking|
Ta-dah! I was really impressed by how uniform and professional they looked - the dough is very easy to roll out to an even thickness. (It's the subsequent re-rolling of the scraps that gets tricky!)
And because I don't know the meaning of the word "enough", I whipped up a batch of Nigella's parmesan shortbreads too. I used the recipe from Nigellissima, and just grated extra Parmesan on top for extra cheesy savoury goodness. These ones were, um.. less uniform looking, but totally delicious and compulsive. I definitely recommend making these for parties! (Or just to eat).
|Nigella's Parmesan Shortbread with Extra Parmesan|
As for the actual cheeses, we brought some Yarra Valley Dairy marinated feta and a pot of Long Clawson Stilton, as well as a little bag of muscatels and dried apple slices.
|Yarra Valley Dairy marinated feta, strawberries, muscatels and dried apple/pear, Parmesan shortbreads, Oatcakes|
Our hosts Amelia and DM provided, among many other wonderful things, a thick wedge of La Luna goats cheese, an aniseed baguette and some quince paste...
|Aniseed baguette, La Luna goats cheese, quince paste|
... as well as a jar of truffle honey. (Potent and delicious).
|Goats cheese on aniseed baguette with truffle honey|
Amelia has also been going great guns pickling! She made gherkins, pickled radishes (which tasted floral like lychees to me), and these awesome pickled mushrooms - from mushrooms that SHE GREW HERSELF. Get outta here!
|Amelia's fabulous homemade pickles - radish, gherkin, mushroom|
We also tried some smoked salt, which was lovely. (It seems like the type of fabulous and extravagant ingredient that someone like Ina Garten or Nigella would keep in their pantry!)
As for the oatcakes, I really liked them! (And people recognised that they were oatcakes without my having to say anything - hooray!) They were oaty and slightly crisp, but sturdy enough to support the weight of all the cheese I kept piling onto them. Everything you want in an oatcake.
Recipe adapted from a community recipe submitted on Good Food by zetallgerman
225 grams quick oats, plus extra for dusting
60 grams plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
60 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
60 - 80 millilitres hot water from a recently boiled kettle
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Place the oats, flour, bicarb, salt and sugar in a food processor. Whizz briefly just to mix. Add the butter and whizz again until the mixture resembles damp sand or large breadcrumbs.
Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl, gradually add the 60 millilitres hot water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix until you have a rough dough. You may or may not need to add the extra water, depending on the oats and flour.
Sprinkle a work surface with extra flour and oats, and roll out the dough to approximately 1/2 a centimetre thick. Cut out with a floured cookie cutter and place on a lined tray. The dough is quite difficult to re-roll, so try and get as many oatcakes out of the first roll as possible.
Arrange the oatcakes on lined baking trays, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack, before serving with cheese, butter, or alone with a glass of water whilst watching the news.
Makes 24, depending on the size of your cookie cutter