Apricot and Currant Lardy Cake

I find warm lardy cake one of the most irresistible teatime treats. Of course, a lardy cake should be made with lard, but adding butter improves the flavour.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb) strong white flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 sachet fast-action easy-blend dried yeast
  • 300 ml (½ pint) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 75 g (3 oz) butter, cut into flakes
  • 125 g (4 oz) fine light demerara sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
  • 175 g (6 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 75 g (3 oz) currants
  • 75 g (3 oz) lard, cut into flakes

Method

Grease a 25 × 20 cm (10 × 8 in) roasting tin. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Add the water and oil, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. Roll out into a rectangle about 5 mm (¼ in) thick. Dot the butter over the top two-thirds of the rectangle of dough, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon mixed spice and half the chopped apri cots and currants. Fold the uncovered bottom third of the rectangle up and the top third down, sealing the edges with a rolling pin. Roll out again to the same size rectangle and dot the top two-thirds of it with the lard, 3 more tablespoons sugar, the spice and the remaining apri cots and currants. Fold and roll out the dough as before.

Put the pastry rectangle into the pre pared roasting tin, pressing it to fill the corners and making a crisscross or diamond pattern with a sharp knife. Put the tin into a large plastic bag and fold the bag ends under the tin, trapping plenty of air so that the bag is well puffed up. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Brush the lardy cake lightly with oil and sprinkle the remaining sugar all over the top. Bake at 220°C, 425°F, Gas Mark 7 for about 30 minutes until a rich brown. If possible, eat while still warm.

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