It’s about continuity.
It’s about tradition.
It’s about laughter.
It’s about engaging all the senses:
See (me do this)
Touch (the ingredients)
Feel (the light dough between your fingers)
Listen (to the timer on the stove)
Smell (fresh baking).
Taste (fresh from the oven)
It’s about love.
Last night I showed my granddaughter (who's fourteen) what my grandmother showed me:
How to make a Bastable (sometimes spelled Bastible) Cake.
So my grandmother made it in a black lidded pot and hung it on the hook over the open fire.
So I made it in a fancy square pan and baked it in a state of the art modern oven.
But the aroma was the same. The taste was the same.
And the love? What do you think?
And here's the recipe as I can find no reference on the web, not a Wiki nor a dictionary entry. The name of the cake is taken from the bastable oven, a cast iron covered pot, used in Co. Cork where I was born and raised.
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces butter
½ cup sugar (generous measure)
1 egg, beaten
¼ to ½ cup milk raw or sour.
2 – 3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Raisins and nuts and/or dried fruit
1 teaspoon cinnamon or cloves(optional)
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt, to glaze
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your hands. Add about 1/3 cup of the sugar, the egg and enough milk to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into two pieces. Put one piece onto a greased ovenproof plate or pan (or use greased 8 inch cake tin), and pat out with floured fingers to cover the plate or pan.
Arrange the chopped sweetmeats and cinnamon on top of the dough and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. Add more sugar if the apples are very tart. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the top. (This is easier said than done, as the dough is like a scone dough and is very soft). Press the sides together, cut a slit through the lid, and brush with the egg wash. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven. If using a cake tin, carefully slip the cake out. Cool on a wire rack for 5 – 10 minutes. Dredge with more sugar and serve with soft brown sugar and good heavy cream.