Eostre Biscuits

Motherhouse Pot Luck

In the West Country of England there are a lot of different biscuits, cakes and puddings that make their appearance at Easter. Some of the Cornish biscuits are referred to as “cakes”, because they mimic the huge traditional feast cakes with their dried fruit and spices. These Easter cakes were traditionally made and eaten at Easter in the West Country from Gloucestershire, Avon, Wiltshire and Dorset westwards. Traditionally they are served after church on Easter Sunday, and are presented in a bundle of three biscuits to represent the Holy Trinity. They are eaten alongside hot cross buns, simnel cake and copious quantities of chocolate eggs as part of Easter festivities. The feasting comes at the end of Lent, so the taste of rich foods is supposed to come as a treat. Similar biscuits eaten before Lent commences are known as Lenten biscuits, and are made to use up eggs, sugar etc. in the way that the Shrove Tuesday pancake does.

All Easter “cakes” contain spice and fruit. The fruit is either solely currants, or can be currants with a little candied citrus peel. Some recipes add grated lemon zest. Biscuits made commercially may have oil of cassia added. Cassia is a part of the same (laurel) family as cinnamon. Its flavor is similar to cinnamon but stronger and more bitter. There are several regional versions of Easter biscuits. I use the name Eostre, the name of the Goddess for which Easter is named to refer to my version of these biscuits:

Eostre Biscuits:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar or berry sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons currants or sultanas

zest of one lemon

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons Amaretto or brandy

a little extra icing sugar

Whisk flour, spices, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat the egg to the butter mixture. Add the lemon zest, amaretto and currants. Add the flour mixture and combine to form soft dough. Take pieces of dough to form golf ball sized balls. Flatten these out to make cookies and line them up on a baking tin lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F (180 C) until golden brown. Another variation that I like is to substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of ginger for the mace and two tablespoons of Jamaica rum for the Amaretto.

You can check out this and other ancient recipes in my cookbook, Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens at smashwords.com.

Advertisements

About cuhulain

Kerr Cuhulain has been a Wiccan for 40 years and has been involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community from 1986 to 2005. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is the author of the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca, Witch Hunts, Wiccan Warrior, Full Contact Magick and Magickal Self Defense. Kerr has a column with 182 articles on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts. Kerr is the former Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, an organization representing Neo-Pagan professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians). Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving 29 years with them. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr's past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher and trainer for ECOMM for Southwestern BC Kerr is the Grand Master and founder of a Wiccan order of Knighthood called the Order of Scáthach in Surrey, British Columbia in November 2007. The Order of Scáthach embraces the Warrior philosophies, precepts and code of chivalry outlined in Kerr’s books. The Order of Scáthach is a study group for people interested in Wiccan magick, energy work and rituals related to the Warrior path, focusing on empowerment, personal development and creative expression. The training focuses on the effective use of magickal energy and developing psychic skills. The Order of Scáthach is constantly developing new rituals, and magick and studying our Warrior philosophy. Our members are spread across the globe and connect through local preceptories and on line. All members are expected to participate and contribute.
This entry was posted in Ancient Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Eostre Biscuits

  1. Kate Dennis says:

    Ohhhhh…These sound so good!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s