Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Soul Cakes for Halloween

The baking and serving of 'Soul Cakes' for All Saints' Day (and Halloween) is an ancient tradition.

These were flat cakes flavoured with saffron that were proffered both to guests and to the souls of the dead on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween), for it used to be believed that the spirits of the departed would return to their homes on this night. As a result candles were lit to guide their way and food and drink (including soul cakes) were put out for them.

Recipe for Soul Cakes

50g butter
150g caster sugar
560g plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
generous pinch of saffron
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
3 tbsp currants
2 tsp milk

Gently warm the milk then combine with the saffron in a mortar. Grind these together well then set aside for 20 minutes to infuse.

In the meantime, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift together the flour and spices then stir into the currants. Add the milk and saffron mixture and enough additional milk to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and shape into flat cakes about 5 or 6cm in diameter. Transfer to a well-buttered baking tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe is adapted, with permission from the Celtnet Soul Cakes recipe page.

If you would like to learn more about the traditions and history of Halloween, and want more Halloween recipes, then please visit the Halloween History and Recipes page.
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