Yorkshire! It’s England’s biggest county and as famous for its stunning moors and dales as it is for The Brontë Sisters, Yorkshire puddings and a good brew.
The best of course is Yorkshire Tea, or more specifically (at least in my opinion) Yorkshire Gold Blend, an award-winning blend of tea leaves from Kenya and Rwanda in Africa and the Assam region of India. It’s an excellent brew with strong eco cred – Yorkshire Tea products are fair trade and carbon neutral certified, and the company is on track to making all their products reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 – and a cup had me hankering for another local delight … the Yorkshire Fat Rascal, a type of tea cake that originated in the region in the early 19th century.
It’s been years since I had devoured one of the irresistible tea time treats at Betty’s Tea Room, a Harrogate institution that knocks out an astounding 375,000 Yorkshire Fat Rascals every year, but I remember the taste like it was yesterday.
So what exactly is a Yorkshire Fat Rascal? Well, it’s kind of like the plus sized love child of a scone and a cookie, packed with a generous hit of citrus, cranberries, raisins and spice, named not for their size (though they are rather large) but for the lard that’s used to make them (though, of course, you can replace the lard with butter if you’d prefer).
Capably assisted by my baby Brit, Sugarpuff, I got my bake on to see if, after scouring the internet and finding a dozen different takes on the rascal (Betty’s original recipe is a closely guarded secret), we could come up with something that resembled the original. With a little tinkering and tweaking, and a whole bunch of memory wracking, I was pretty happy with the results of our recipe.
The kids wolfed their rascals down warm from the oven and smothered in lashings of raspberry jam and cream, while I took to mine at a more leisurely pace, accompanied with another steaming cup of strong and personality packed Yorkshire Gold Tea, the combo proving so perfect it had me mentally surfing a milky, sepia-hued wave all the way back to Britain…