These are actually Fat Rascals, which are a traditional Yorkshire treat. They are a cross between a scone and a teacake, quite dense, crumbly and stuffed full of currants and candied peel. The origin of their name is unkown but I believe it has something to do with the glace cherries and sliced almonds which are arranged into a sort of mischevious (and slightly scary) face on the top of each rascal. I also like to believe that it could also be because these fat, thick, scones were a favourite with children who were affectionately called ‘rascals’ our equivalent of called someone a ‘cheeky monkey’ these days. However, this is just my own speculation. Anyone else have any ideas on the origin of the name?
I made these for Monday Munchers at work. I got the inspiration to make them after sampling one on a recent visit to Betty’s Tea Shop in Harrogate which is famous for these afternoon treats. Mine turned out slightly thinner than they should have done, not quite as fat as the originals and so I have called mine Chubby Rascals.
They have a light buttery crumb thanks to the sour cream included in the batter. This also makes them quite rich and filling. The candied peel added a lovely sweet and zesty flavour. They were very much enjoyed but I think next time I will try not to roll them out so thinly in the hope they turn out a little fatter. They are lovely to munch on as they are but spread with butter and jam they become a really special afternoon treat.
Chubby (Fat) Rascals
100g butter (or half butter and half lard)
350g plain flour
25g candied mixed peel
1 heaped tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
150ml sour cream
Sliced or whole blanched almonds
Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and set to one side.
Rub the butter into the flour using you fingertips until no big lumps remain.
Mix through the sugar, baking powder, currants and peel.
Add the cream, reserving a little as you may not need it all, and mix to a stiff dough.
Flour a work surface and gently roll out the dough until it is 2cm thick.
Stamp out rounds using a pastry cutter and place on the baking tray.
Cut a glace cherry in half and place on the top of each rascal along with 3-4 almonds in the design of a face.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly risen and golden brown.
Cool slightly before munching.
Makes 8 – 10 Rascals
The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington
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