Introduction: Traditional Lancashire/Yorkshire Potato Cakes
Here follows a recipe for making traditional Yorkshire/Lancashire* Potato Cakes. These are not to be confused with Hash Browns or Potato Scallops (or Boxty :-)) - these really are little cakes made from Potato. They may be an acquired taste (I can't tell, because I've been eating them since childhood, so any acquiring I did was a long time ago), especially as the main (almost only) ingredients are potato and plain flour.
If you're looking for a carb hit, this is the food for the job. They can be eaten hot from the oven, but I prefer them cold and spread with butter for a morning or afternoon snack.
*or possibly Irish. My father's family lived in a town that was either Yorkshire or Lancashire depending on your acknowledgement of the outcome of the war of the roses, but before that they were immigrants from Ireland, so I'm not quite sure where the recipe originated.
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Step 1: Ingredients and Requirements
- 700G peeled and cleaned potatoes
- 220g plain flour
- some butter (about 2 tablespoons)
- some milk (splash and a half or so)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Chives/cheese/onion/whatever (optional)
- a pot to boil the spuds,
- a bowl to mash them in
- a bigger bowl to fold the spuds and flour together in
- a flat area to roll out the cakes
- a baking tray for baking on
*sort of. This recipe is made more by feel than science, but the basic ratio of 3 potato to 1 flour is about right.
Step 2: Da Monster Mash
You'll need to mash the spuds as you would if you were to eat them as is. Just make sure not to make them too 'wet' or you'll have to use too much flour to dry them out again. Transfer the mash to a large bowl and add about 1/4 of the sifted flour. Fold the flour in to the mash with a large wooden spoon. Keep adding the flour in 1/4 amounts and fold in. The final mix should easily come away from the sides of the bowl when moved with the spoon and be quite 'heavy' to move around. When molding the cakes you should be able to move the mix beween your hands without it sticking like glue. It's hard to give an exact description of what the mix should feel like. The ratio of 3 potato to 1 flour is a rough guide and will vary depending on how 'wet' your mash is and what type of potatoes you use.
To make the cakes, grab a chunk of mix and roll it around in your hands, then flatten it out to roughly the size of your palm and 1 to 2 cm thick. There's no need to grease the oven tray, just make sure there is a bit of a flour coating on the cakes.
Step 3: Optional Ingredients/variations
Some Cheese and Chives, just for the hell of it. You could add just about anything in, but be aware that it is a long and slow cooking process, so you need something with a strong flavour. I put Cheese and Chives in a couple of my cakes and, to be honest, could barely tell the difference between those and the plain ones. I should probably have put more in.
Step 4: I Made a Mess (wife at Work)
'nuff said - just have to clean it up before she comes home.
Step 5: Cooking
The cakes need to cook in a low oven for quite a long time. 160c for approximately 2 hours (fan-forced, electric oven). The final cooking time depends on the size of the cakes. I left this batch in a little too long (about 15 minutes, I was busy doing other stuff). Even though the recipe uses plain flour, the cakes rise up a fair bit when cooking (maybe due to the amount of air introduced to the mix during the folding process). The cakes are done when they turn a golden brown colour on top and get cracks on the surface. Do not be tempted to open the oven or turn the cakes before they have finished cooking.
Step 6: Yum!
When you slice open the cakes, the inside sort of resembles a crumpet with all the air pockets created during the cooking process. The outer skin is slightly chewy with a nutty flavour, whilst inside awaits golden buttery mashie goodness. Best served with butter. Potato Cakes can be eaten hot from the oven or cold. I actually prefer them cold with plenty of butter. Oh, and don't forget the butter.