Clwyd is a county in the north-east region of Wales and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Clwyd area. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
TEISEN BLAT (PLATE CAKE / HARVEST CAKE)
This tart is thinner that an ordinary fruit tart, the pastry being almost paper thin, and is often spiced with the fruit inside pre-cooked to a puree. Any fruit according to season is used, however, stone fruits such as apricots, plums or damsons.
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) self raising flour, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) butter or lard (or a mix), 8 tablespoons approx cold water. cooked and sweetened seasonal fruit (cooked to a smooth puree), 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch mixed spice, a little milk
Mix the flour with the sugar and spices, rub in the fat. Add the cold water and mix well until the dough is pliable. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out very thinly. then cut into 4 rounds. Grease 2 ovenproof flattish plates about 10 inches (25cm) across, damp the edges and lay one round on each plate. Prick the bottom then put into a hot oven 400F (200C) for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and fill with half the fruit to each plate, damp the edges and lay on the tops. Pressing down well so that they are secure. Prick the tops lightly, brush with milk and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. This plate cake or tart is often served cold or lukewarm cut into slices. Buttermilk was frequently drunk or served with the harvest cake.
BARA BRITH (TRADITIONAL SPECKLED BREAD)
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) flour, 1 oz (30g) yeast, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) lukewarm milk, 1 teaspoon white sugar, 3 oz (85g or 1/2 cup) lard or butter, 1 egg, 2 heaped tablespoons chopped mixed peel, 1/2 teaspoon mixed ground spice, 6 oz (170g or 2/3 cup) seedless raisins, 3 tablespoons currants, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, pinch salt, warm honey to glaze
Ensure all utensils and ingredients are warm before use. Warm the milk to tepid with the teaspoon of white sugar, crumble in the yeast and set aside for 10-20 minutes until it is frothy. Rub the fat into the flour, stir in the peel, dried fruit, spices, brown sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yeasted milk and the well beaten egg. Mix to a soft dough, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Turn onto a floured board and knead well. Put into a well greased tin, cover again and leave for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and put into a hot oven 400F (200C) for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 325F (170C) and bake for about 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes). If it is properly cooked, the loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Put onto a wire rack and while it is still warm brush the top with clear honey to give a nice glaze. Leave it to get quite cold before cutting. Serve in slices with butter.
PICE AR Y MAEN (WELSH CAKES)
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) plain flour, 6 oz (170g or 1 1/2 cups) mixed currants and sultanas, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 10 oz (290g or 1 1/2 cups) butter, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice or mace (optional), 6 oz (170g or 3/4 cup) sugar, 1 egg, a little milk, pinch salt.
Makes approximately 20. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and rub in the butter. Add the sugar, spice (if using) and dried fruit. Mix in the beaten egg and just enough milk (about 3 tablespoons) to make it the same consistency as for short crust pastry. Turn out onto a floured board, roll out and cut into rounds about 3 inches (7cm) across and 1/2 inch (1.5cm) thick. Cook over a medium heat on a lightly greased Welsh bakestone (planc) for around 3- 4 minutes each side. If browning to quickly then lower the heat. The inside has to have time to cook thoroughly so that it has a brittle. sandy texture. Serve either hot or cold with butter, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, jam or honey.
TEISEN TINCAR (TINKER’S CAKE)
1/2 lb (250g) flour, 1/4 lb (125g) butter, 3 oz (85g) sugar, little grated cooking apple, pinch salt.
Mix all the ingredients together to a stiff dough with a little milk or buttermilk, cut into rounds and cook as Welsh Cakes (see above).
NETTLE BEER (Mrs Edwards, from Corwen, 1887)
½ lb nettles, 1 gallon (4.5 Litres) water, 1lb (500g) raisins, 1 oz (30g) ground ginger, 1 oz (30g) cream of tartar, 1 lemon (quartered), ½ lb (250g) sugar, 1 oz (30g) yeast.
Boil the nettles and raisins for 15 minutes in the water, then strain and retain the liquid, allow to cool. (The plumped raisins should be separated from the nettles, drained, and used again in a cake or bara brith). When lukewarm add the sugar, ground ginger, cream of tartar and the lemon quarters. Then add the yeast to the beer and stir it in. Cover and leave stand overnight somewhere warm. Next day remove the lemon and squeeze in the juice, stir. Cover and leave stand for a few more hours. Strain the nettle beer through some muslin cloth, then bottle. Loosely cork the bottles for a day then firmly cork the bottles and store. Serve chilled.
PWDIN EFA (EVE’S PUDDING)
1 lb (500g) cooking apples, 4 tablespoons golden or maple syrup, 4 tablespoons water, juice of 1/2 lemon
For the Topping: 2 separated eggs, 2 heaped tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, 2 tablespoons caster (extra fine) sugar, 3/4 pint (450ml or 1 1/2 cups) warm milk, 1 vanilla pod or 3 drops of vanilla essence (vanilla sugar can be used instead)
Serves 4. Peel, core and slice the apples and put them in a round fireproof dish with the syrup, water and lemon juice poured over. Cook them for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven 350F (180C). Meanwhile heat up the butter, stir in the flour and then add the warmed milk, stirring all the while to avoid lumps. At this stage, add the vanilla pod or essence, then remove from the stove and beat in either the caster sugar or vanilla sugar if using. Remove the vanilla pod, if used, and add the beaten egg-yolks. Remove the apple from the oven. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the custard mixture. Pour this over the apples, covering evenly right to the edges and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 40 minutes or until the top is well risen
If preferred 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder can be added with the flour to make a chocolate flavoured Eve’s Pudding. Also, this pudding is excellent made with half apples and half bilberries. These blue black berries found on many hillsides in Wales are sometimes called blaeberries.
TEISEN DATWS (POTATO CAKES)
1 lb (500g or 2 generous cups) cooked mashed potato, 4 oz (115g or 4 heaped tablespoons) self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 oz (30g or 1 heaped tablespoon) melted butter, pinch of ginger or cinnamon or mixed spice, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) milk
Makes about 20 cakes. Mix together the dry ingredients the add the melted butter and finally mix to a stiff paste with the milk. Turn out onto a floured board and lightly knead. Roll out to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and cut into rounds. Bake on a medium hot, lightly greased bakestone on both sides. Serve hot with butter. These potato cakes can be baked in a hot oven 400F (200C) for about 20 minutes.
POTATO AND APPLE TURNOVER
1 lb (500g or 2 generous cups) cooked mashed potato, 4 oz (115g or 4 heaped tablespoons) self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 oz (30g or 1 heaped tablespoon) melted butter, a pinch of ground ginger and cinnamon (or mixed spice), 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) milk, 1 or 2 large cooking apples.
Mix together the dry ingredients, add the melted butter and finally mix to a stiff paste with the milk. Turn out onto a floured board, lightly knead and then roll out into a large circle. Cover half the circle with peeled and finely sliced apples, leaving a little space around the outside edge. Sprinkle over the apples with brown sugar, a little ginger and cinnamon, and dot generously with butter. Damp the edges with a little milk and fold over (turnover) the half without the apples and press down. Bake on a greased sheet for about 40 minutes in a moderate hot oven 350F (180C).
POTATO AND CHEESE TURNOVER
Follow the recipe for potato and apple turnover above, but substitute 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) of grated cheese for the apple and leave out the ground ginger and cinnamon. Roll out the mix into a large circle, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and fold over. Bake on a greased sheet for about 40 minutes in a moderate hot oven 350F (180C).
POTEN BWMPEN (PUMKIN PIE)
¾ lb (300g or 2 cups) cooked pumpkin (well pressed down and drained), 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) brown sugar, 2 tablespoons seedless raisins, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons cream or top of the milk, a pinch each of cinnamon, ginger and mace
For the pastry: 8 oz (225g or 2 cups) flour, 4 oz (115g) butter, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons water, salt
To make the pastry: add salt to the flour then work the butter into it. Beat the egg with the water and add to the flour, mixing well. Turn out onto a floured board and roll into a large ball then put in a cold place until required.
Line a greased 9 inch (23cm) flan case with the pastry and brush over the bottom with a little of the beaten egg to prevent the base getting soggy. Mix together the cooked pumpkin, sugar, butter, spices and dried fruit and put into the pastry case. Add the cream to the egg and pour evenly over the top. Bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 40 minutes. Serve Cold. Equal quantities of apple and pumpkin can be used for this pie.
CAWS WEDI EI BOBI (WELSH RAREBIT)
4 oz (115g) cheese, sliced thinly, 1 oz (30g) butter, 2 oz (60g) breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoonful dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoonful each of salt and pepper, 1 gill (150ml) milk, 1 well beaten egg.
Cook in a saucepan, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens, and serve on hot buttered toast.
CREMPOG (SMALL PANCAKES)
1/2 lb (250g) flour, 1 egg, pinch salt, 1 cupful (240ml) sour cream or buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoonful carbonate of soda.
Mix the soda in with the cream or buttermilk. Beat together to a thick batter, heat the frying-pan, rub with lard, drop in mixture a tablespoonful at a time, fry until golden brown, turn and fry the other side. Pile on a dish with large dabs of butter between each cake, put into the oven until all are cooked. Serve very hot with sugar or syrup.
SAWS CRIAFOL (ROWANBERRY JELLY)
3 lb (1.4Kg) rowan berries, 2 large chopped apples, sugar, water
Put the berries and the chopped but not peeled or cored apples into a large saucepan. Cover with water and boil for 40 minutes. Drain through muslin and let it drip overnight. Then boil up the liquid allowing 1 lb (500g) sugar for every pint (600ml) of juice. Boil fairly fast for about 1 hour. Bottle and seal as for jam. Makes approx. 5 lb jelly.
CREMPOG GEIRCH (OATMEAL PANCAKES)
8 oz (225g or 2 cups) white sifted flour, 3 oz (85g or 3/4 cup) fine oatmeal, 1/2 oz (15g) yeast creamed with 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 tablespoons tepid milk, 1 egg, pinch of salt, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) warm milk approx. a little fat or oil for cooking
Makes around 20. Mix together the oatmeal, flour and salt then stir in the yeast. Finally add the well-beaten egg, cover and leave the mix to rise for 1/2 an hour (30 minutes) in a warm place. Punch down and if the mixture seems very thick thin it down with the warm milk. The consistency should be a smooth batter that drops from the spoon so add the milk gradually until this is obtained. Cover again and leave to rise for 1/2 hour (30 minutes). Lightly grease a heated bakestone or heavy pan and drop the mixture on, a tablespoon at a time. Turnover and cook the other side. If they are to be eaten straight away then spread with butter and serve. Oatcakes keep very well in a tin, re-heat in a low oven or under a slow grill. Excellent with bacon, jam or honey.
DIOD SINSIR (GINGER BEER)
4lb (1.8Kg) lump sugar, 6 oz (170g) stem ginger, 6 lemons, 4 oz (115g) yeast, 4 gallons (18 Litres) water,
Peel the lemons, cut them in halves and squeeze them on the sugar, Bruise the ginger and let them all be in a pan. Pour the boiling water on them. When cold enough add a small tea-cup full of yeast. Let it stand 24 hours before bottling. In three days it will be ready to drink
4 lumps of well pounded stem ginger, 2 sticks of rhubarb, 1 lb (500g) lump sugar, 1 oz (30g) of yeast, a handful of blackcurrant leaves, 8 pints (5 Litres) cold water, dandelions and nettles tops in equal proportion.
Half fill a 10 pint (7 Litre) saucepan with an equal amount of dandelions and nettles. Add two sticks of rhubarb, a handful of blackcurrant leaves, pounded stem ginger, cover with cold water and boil for 15 minutes. Strain off the liquid, add the lump sugar till dissolved and well stirred. Pour over 8 pints (5 Litres) of cold water and stir. When tepid take a cup of the liquid to dissolve the yeast in then pour back in, stirring well. Leave overnight. The yeast is skimmed off the next day and the ginger beer bottled. Corked loosely at first and after bubbling has ceased, corked tightly.
CIG OEN A MEL (HONEYED LAMB)
4lb (1.8Kg) shoulder of spring lamb, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) thick honey, 2 level tablespoons rosemary, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) cider approx, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ginger
Serves about 6. Line a baking tin with foil as the honey can make it very sticky. Rub the shoulder all over with salt, pepper and the ginger. Put into the baking tin and sprinkle half the finely shopped rosemary over the top. Coat the top skin with honey and pour the cider around. Bake in a hot oven 400F (200C) for 1/2 an hour (30 minutes) then lower the heat to 325F (160C) and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours (90 Minutes). Fifteen minutes before the lamb is ready, baste carefully and sprinkle over the remaining rosemary. Add a little more cider if it appears to be drying up. Pour off any excess fat from the gravy and reduce slightly on top of the oven, adding more cider if it has evaporated. Serve the sauce separately in a warmed gravy boat.
MEDD HEN FFASIWN (MEAD OR METHEGLIN)
1 gallon (4.5 Litres) water, 2 pints (1.2 Litres) clear honey, 2 lemons, 4 cloves, 1 lb (500g) white sugar, sprig of rosemary, 4 inch (10cm) long piece of root ginger, 1 oz (30g) yeast.
Boil together the sugar, water and honey and skim of any scum that rises. Stand in an earthenware basin and add the juice of the two lemons and large sections of rind / peel of one lemon. Also add the cloves, rosemary and well bruised root ginger. When cooled to blood temperature or less, add the yeast (too hot a liquid will kill the yeast). After 3 days remove the lemon rind / peel but let fermentation continue until it has stopped ‘hissing’. After leaving for about a weak the liquid can be strained and bottled. Cork loosely to begin with then tighten up if it is not bubbling. Leave for at least 3-6 months before drinking.
CYFLAITH (TREACLE TOFFEE)
1 lb (500g or 2 cups) demerara sugar (natural brown sugar), 12 oz (340g or 1 ½ cups) butter, 12 oz (340g or 3 cups) golden syrup (corn syrup)
Boil all ingredients together and stir gently for about 10 minutes or until a few drops poured into cold water harden straight away (at the hard-crack stage). Pour into an oiled flat tin or plate and when barely set mark into squares with a knife and loosen from the bottom of the tin. Leave until quite cold and firm before removing from the tin. Break up into pieces and either wrap in small squares of oiled paper or store in an airtight tin. Makes about 2lb (1Kg) toffee. Nuts or dried fruit may be added before pouring into the tin.
Filling: ½ lb (250g) apples, 1 oz (30g) flour, 8 oz (225g) sugar, 1 egg. A beaten egg and extra golden brown sugar to sprinkle over the tart.
Pastry: 8oz (225g) flour, 4 oz (115g) butter, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg yolk, a little water to bind.
Make the pastry: rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and cinnamon, then bind with an egg yolk and a little water until a firm pastry dough is made, leave to rest. Make the filling: peel and core the apples – then cut the apples into small chunks. Mix the sugar and flour together in a bowl and add the beaten egg; beat well together and then add the apples. Line a deep plate (or tart tin) with two-thirds of the pastry rolled out and cut to fit. Spoon the filling mixture in. Roll out the rest of the pastry, cut into narrow strips, twist them, and then form them into a trellis (criss-cross) pattern over the filling – trimming where needed. Brush over the pastry twists with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over some golden brown sugar. Bake in an oven at 400F (200C) for 30 to 40 minutes – until the fruit is soft and the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Serve slices with cream.
STEAMED APPLE PUDDING
2 oz (60g) self-raising flour, 2 oz (60g) butter, 2 oz (60g) breadcrumbs, 4oz (115g) sugar, 4 oz (115g) apples, 1 teaspoon powdered cloves, 1 egg.
Rub the butter into the flour and add the breadcrumbs, sugar and ground cloves. Peel, then grate the apples into the mixture and bind with the egg. Put the mixture into a greased pudding basin, cover with foil, tie with string and steam in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid fill with water half-way up the side of the pudding basin and steam for 2 hours (120 minutes). Serve with whipped cream.