27 April 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

When the rain keeps on falling, there is nothing better than baking something sweet and reaching out for a cuppa. This is definitively one of those days!
Perhaps we will see sunshine and warmer temperatures next month! At least I hope so!
I thought today was a good day for Banbury...as in Banbury cakes/tarts and a bit of trivia!
Most everyone is familiar with the nursery rhyme:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a Fyne lady ride on a white horse.
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.

The well known rhyme became a favourite with children throughout the English speaking world and was in fact first seen in print in 1784
And for history lovers, Banbury, situated in Oxforshire, had three beautiful crosses, the High Cross, known also as the Market Cross, the Bread Cross and the White Cross. Sadly, on the morning of the 26th of July 1600 the Town Council decreed the High Cross should be destroyed and the other two followed its fate shortly after.
As to Banbury Castle, built in the year 1135AD,  an 18th Century painting shows two towers rising above houses to the north of the market place but nothing else is left of it.
The town of course is famous for Banbury cakes, these delicious flat pastries with spicy currant fillings made from recipes dating back to 1586 or even earlier!

This is the recipe I use:
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • Pastry for two double-crust pies (9 inches)
  • 1 cup icing sugar

 To make:

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Stir in walnuts. Roll out pastry to 1/8-in. thickness; cut into 48 3-in. circles; moisten edges with water. Put 1-1/2 teaspoons filling on half of each circle. Fold other half over the filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. Cut a slit in top of each tart. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle icing sugar over cooled tarts.


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