Home away from Home:
Betty’s Fat Rascals Recipe
We have a lovely home in SW France that we like to visit several times a year, and when we aren’t travelling by car, which we usually do, we fly into our nearest airports of Bordeaux or La Rochelle. The flights are a breeze to book with ebookers, who now offer a very handy ebookers Bonus + service, where the more you travel, the more Bonus+ you earn and the more you save. With the ebookers Bonus+ rewards programme you get more cash rewards, more room upgrades, more amazulous deals, so you can taste your away around the globe with ease, as I try to do regularly.
One of my favourite treats that I would love to take with me to France, to accompany a cup of Yorkshire tea in the afternoon, is a Fat Rascal, a speciality bake from Betty’s Tea Rooms. I love Bettys Tea Rooms, the old Yorkshire company is synonymous with quality cakes as well as excellent tea, coffee and pastries…..not forgetting several beautiful and elegant tea rooms of which my favourite is York. When I worked in York, I used to nip down to Bettys Tea Rooms in my lunch or tea break and treat myself to one of these delicious buns.
Actually, they are a cross between a bun and a scone, more like a rock cake, and Betty’s Fat Rascals differ from other Fat Rascals I have tried as they are packed full of fruit and have whole blanched almonds and glacé cherries on top, which rather looks like a little face. Whereas other recipes I have discovered are more like plain fruit scones with no glaze or decoration.
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, although the original recipe is thought to be Elizabethan. They originate from Yorkshire and Durham, and are very popular in most bakeries in the North East of England. Other names for Fat Rascals are thought to be North Riding Turf Cakes, little cakes made with the leftovers of dough or pastry at the end of the day and cooked over turf fires.
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 in my “home away from home” recipe below. These tasty fruit and citrus 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…..and I miss them when I am in France, so there’s only one thing to do, and that is to make my own, which I do regularly when at our home in SW France, as well as when I’m in Yorkshire too.
A poignant historical note: A few years after Bettys opened its doors in York the 2nd world war broke out; Bettys Bar which was situated in the basement of the York Tea Rooms became a favourite haunt of thousands of airmen stationed in and around York. In the basement hangs “Bettys Mirror”, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, the mirror still remains on display today as a fitting tribute to their bravery, as obviously, some never came back.
But, back to my recipe; Betty’s Fat Rascals are made to a secret recipe, but with a little trial and error as well as numerous taste tests, I think I have got a recipe that is pretty close…….well, I’m quite pleased with them and everyone who has tasted them says they are delicious – so although they may not be Betty’s Fat Rascals, they are a wonderful and traditional Yorkshire scone-cum-bun recipe that will go down a treat at any tea time event, or indeed on a picnic or as a treat in a lunch box. I hope you enjoy my “home away from home recipe” for Fat Rascals as much as we do.
Commissioned Work: I created this recipe with ebookers, as part of their “travel, food and inspire” campaign, so look out for more of my travel inspired recipe posts with ebookers, as I eat my way around Europe and beyond.