Charmian Christie will have you laughing via her new The Messy Baker cookbook!
I have sat with Charmian’s cookbook, grinning and tearing, as her authentic voice and unexpected wit charmed me into submission. I already knew I was baking one recipe from the book, but I have several ear-marked. It will be the same for you. Cookbooks often inspire me. This one motivates.
The old fashioned charm of this Classic Welsh Griddle Cake recipe will never lose it appeal over time. It certainly hasn’t over the past few hundred years, with the exception of the fact that most people do not make their own food from scratch anymore. On a tiered porcelain platter, these simple little ditties would hold their own amongst the high-browed Devonshire Cream and exquisite dainties at a formal British High Tea. They will also please anyone who pops in for a little visit with tea, but most of all, they will charm you. I find them addictive.
I chose this recipe to celebrate Charmian’s launch of her first Cookbook, The Messy Baker. as the Welsh Griddle Cake is completely new to me; making the recipe absolutely inspired me as I can see endless combinations with this one recipe, alone. Charmian and I met last year at the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, and got to know one another “cyberly” via her very important monthly contributions to The Canadian Food Experience Project. Chatting, Charmian was tickled about that, “It’s a Gateway Cookbook. At least that is what I hope it will be to people. That’s how I see it. I hope it will inspire those who use it to take my recipes and make them their own [or make something completely different inspired by one of my recipes.]” Can you see my Griddle Cake on top of the picture page in her cookbook, above?
Charmian Christie’s hope is that The Messy Baker is the Gateway Cookbook….
Mis en place: the ingredients are simple. The crystallized ginger makes all the difference. I may even put more in next time. And, snacking on bits of it while eating one of the little cakes makes an excellent accompaniment!
If you want the recipe, you will have to buy the book. I have adapted this recipe to the Thermomix Machine, so if you have one, this is an excellent recipe and I have actually developed a new Thermomix technique for mixing in the wet ingredients, so read carefully.
I added some of my homemade preserved sour cherries with the currants in this recipe. Of course, the ginger was also present. The cherries added a delicious perk.
With the fruit in the mix, this makes a stiff batter. I didn’t want the power of the machine to pulverize, or even chop the fruit in the mix, and as the dry ingredients were heavy, the wet ingredients must reach the bottom of the TM bowl. To do this, use a rubber spatula in each quadrant of the bowl, moving the dry ingredients away from the side and toward the blade until you can just see the bottom of the bowl, or almost see it.
Above, the last portion of the wet ingredients have been added.
Add 1/4 of the wet ingredients to each quadrant of the TM bowl using this procedure. The final trick is to set the machine on Reverse and knead until the dough just formed into clumps, or for 10 – 15 seconds.
Divide the dough into two portions, wrap tightly.
Roll out the first half on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch high. Traditionally, the Welsh Griddle Cakes are round, but there is such waste as the end pieces are not nearly as tender once re-rolled and cut. I cut mine in squares as Charmian did.
I don’t know if you can visually see what happens when this stiff batter hits the griddle. It slumps. Ever so slightly. It gets warm, the bottoms brown beautifully, and they turn with ease, but after the first thirty seconds of hitting the pan, the batter turns to a liquid consistency and wobbles on top of the forming crust. I was mesmerized.
Seriously, so easy to make! I did not cook the second batch for a couple of days as I was busy. I also wanted to see how the dough would perform after that length of time. I took it out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling, and the second time round, of course, making these little cakes was a SN-ap! I would definitely make the dough ahead if wanting them warm for a special occasion, but seriously, they are every bit as tasty at room temperature. It is just nice to have a guest feel pampered, no?
I was thinking biscuit when I added the butter. I love butter on everything. No need for butter here. A drizzle of honey over the butter hit my sweet spot, but again, no need.
Charmian writes that this makes a big batch. Well, everything is relative, isn’t it? I suppose 5 dozen is a big batch, but they didn’t last a week here. Everyone was snacking on them, and then they were gone.
Time to make more. Time to investigate other recipes in her lovely new book that mirror her quirky humor and warm charm. Charmian is a reformed journalist turned food writer who specializes in recipe development, gardening, and a lot of other things. You can find her at her light-hearted, witty food blog: The Messy Baker. Don’t mistake her humor and messy approach for lack of attention to detail. She is a well healed cook and knows her stuff. If she has written it, you can make it, and succeed. That is The Messy Baker blessing. The Messy Baker gift is Charmian’s ability to open doors and windows to one’s own creativity through her words, her recipes and her new book. That’s a sweet bang for your buck, don’t you think?
An exclusive moment with Charmian Christie about The Messy Baker:
1. Which The Messy Baker recipe would you hope someone would make and write about, if there could only be one?
2. Which recipe did you develop on your own that you are most proud of, and why?
3. Tell me about the Welsh Griddle Cakes. What is your family story here? Do you recall your first griddle cake
4. What is the biggest lesson you learned from authoring this cookbook – as a writer, as a blogger, as a person and as a cook and baker?
Take a look at the posts from the following Canadian Food bloggers to see how The Messy Baker Cookbook (aka The Gateway Book) inspired each of them….
- Brittany from My Daily Randomness: Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues
- Carole from The Yum Yum Factor: Orange Walnut Brownies
- Christina from Strawberries for Supper: Savory Pecan Cheddar Bites
- Heather from The Tasty Gardener: Piglet Muffins with Caramelized Bacon
- Jan from Family Bites: Chili Cheese Twists
- Jennifer from Seasons and Suppers: Tomato Arugula Stuffed Foccacia
- Jenny from The Brunette Baker: Whiskey Kissed Cream pie
- Libby from Libby Roach: Basil and Aged Cheddar Scones and Deep Dark Cherry and Chipotle Brownies
- Louisa from Living Lou: Double Stuffed Uber Oreos
- Meg from Sweet Twist of Blogging: Rhubarb Raspberry Galette with Frangipane
- Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write: Profiteroles
- Rhonda from Olive & Ruby: – Ginger and Vanilla Scones
- Robyn from Planer Bryn: Blueberry Lime Cornmeal Muffins
- Stephanie from Kitchen Frolic: Smoked Paprika Corn Fritters
- Valerie from A Canadian Foodie: Welsh Griddle Cakes
- 510g flour sifted all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 5g salt
- 210g sugar
- 5g freshly grated nutmeg (one nutmeg is about 1½ teaspoons or 7.5g)
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- 210g ice cold butter, cubed
- 140g currants or other dried fruit (I used 70g each of dried sour cherries and currants)
- 100-110g diced crystallized ginger
- 2 eggs
- 90g buttermilk
- Scale flour and sugar into TM bowl adding baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and mace; pulse at Turbo for 1 full second to combine
- Scale cubed ice cold butter into TM bowl; pulse at turbo for 1 full second, two times
- Scale currants and candied ginger into TM bowl; whisk eggs into milk and pour over dry ingredients in TM bowl in four portions as follows
- Using a spatula, move dry ingredients along side of TM bowl to make room for liquid to reach bottom; pour ¼ of the liquid into side of bowl
- Repeat three times until each quadrant of TM bowl has received ¼ portion of liquid ingredients
- Selecting Reverse and Knead settings, knead dough 6 times: dough will form into clumps
- Remove from bowl; dough will be stiff
- Portion into two balls or logs and wrap tightly
- Heat ungreased griddle over low or set electric frying pan to 250F; I used my ceramic crepe pan on my gas stove at medium low and it worked perfectly
- Roll first half of dough on floured surface to ¼ inch thick; cut into 2-inch squares
- Repeat with second half while first half is cooking
- Cook first batch of cakes on heated griddle for 8 minutes, at 4 minutes per side or when golden brown
- Serve hot or cold; store in airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long