Recipe by French Tart
When I worked in York, I used to nip down to Betty's of York Tea Rooms in my lunch break and treat myself to one of these delicious buns! Actually, they are a cross between a bun and a scone, and Betty's Fat Rascals differ from some other recipes, as they have whole blanched almonds and glace cherries on top! The origin of the name is unknown, but they are thought to have been made since the mid 19th Century - under the name of Fat Rascals! They originate from Yorkshire and Durham, and are very popular in most bakeries in the North East of England. These tasty fruit and peel buns are wonderful with a cuppa, to take on a picnic or, to tuck into a lunch box for the hungry workers and children! The original recipe uses lard, probably where the word "Fat" comes from - but I am not a lover of lard, so I have specified butter. A poignant historical note: A few years after Betty’s opened its doors in York war broke out, and Betty’s – in particular the basement ‘Betty’s Bar’ – became a favourite haunt of thousands of airmen stationed around York. ‘Betty’s Mirror’, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, remains on display today as a fitting tribute to their bravery, as obviously, some never came back. (NB: I note that a reviewer has said these are NOT Betty's Fat Rascals!! Well of course they aren't, as I don't have the "secret" recipe - but they are a very close match! There are dozens of Fat Rascals recipes throughout Yorkshire, this recipe is as close as you will get outside Betty's Tea Room! Enjoy them as a typical Yorkshire treat, as I still do in France!)
- 100 g butter, softened
- 250 g plain flour
- 75 g currants
- 50 g mixed citrus peels
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 75 g golden caster sugar
- 150 ml whipping cream or 150 ml sour cream or 150 ml creme fraiche
- 1 egg, beaten
- glace cherries, for decoration
- blanched almond, for decoration (whole)
Directions See How It's Made
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and grease or line a baking sheet, or a cookie sheet.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add the cream and mix to a stiff paste - a firm dough.
- Roll the mixture out on a floured board, to about 1" thickness and stamp out rounds, of about 3" in diameter. ( You can also shape the fat rascals by hand; take a piece of dough, about the size of a small egg, and make a small ball - flatten it out slghtly into bread roll shapes - like a bread bap shape.)
- Arrange them on the greased baking tray and glaze them generously with the beaten egg.
- Then place 2 whole blanched almonds on top with a halved glace cherry for decoration - pushing them down gently into the dough, so they do not fall off during baking!
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they have risen and are golden brown.
- Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.
- Store them in an airtight tin for up to 4 days.