I love looking at handwritten family recipe books and archives, the yellowing papers which hold our counties culinary heritage, recipes which are handed down from generation to generation. I have been kindly lent by my neighbour his families recipe book which I think dates from the early 1900's and runs through his Mother's early married life and their rich local cooking and baking heritage.
Within its bounds I have discovered a number of recipes which I have never heard of before, one of which is Pendle Hill Cakes ,which would appear to be a form of a sweet biscuit. The Pendle area of Lancashire is a wild and achingly beautiful place, forever associated with the infamous witch trails of 1612, interesting given that the recipe book is from the Leyland area at least 20 miles away from Pendle Hill.
Following the recipe in the book which didn't include an oven temperature or the length of time to bake for , we have baked the Pendle Hill Cake, and if we do say so ourselves its pretty delicious and definitely deserved to baked again. The resultant "cake" is actually in texture a biscuit, what is it about "up north" where everything is a cake ! Chorley Cake, eccles cake goosnargh cake, shortcake, etc, but they aren't cakes in the traditional sense.
On my recent visit to BBC Radio Lancashire I also made an appeal for "lost" forgotten food recipes so we will have to see what other culinary delicacies turn up. I can't trace any other recollections of the Pendle Hill Cake. The recipe contains flour, meal (I am assuming oatmeal), sugar, butter, egg and a little baking powder, then baked in a hot oven. The instruction said to roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with a round cutter. So here we are ta dah ! the Pendle Hill Cake a re found classic.
The resultant "cake" is deliciously oaty and crumbly and stores well in an airtight tin. I haven't posted the full recipe as its still work in progress and still very variable when baked, humidity seems to make a big difference to the resultant "cake".