A Scottish Christmas

MY DEBUT NOVEL, A Dream of Death, will be published by Crooked Lane Books in April of 2019. The setting, a fictional island in the Inner Hebrides, reflects the metaphoric “island” in Buffalo, New York, where my Scottish grandparents immersed themselves in all things Scottish and dreamt of the “auld country.”

To celebrate, I’m posting two special Scottish recipes, the first from my grandmother and the second from her best friend. Both are amazing and straight from early 1900s Scotland.

Flora Campbell’s Christmas Yum-Yum Cake

1-1/2 c. large seeded raisins

1 c. dates, cut up

1 c. dried prunes, cut up

2 c. sugar

2 c. boiling water

5 T. butter

The night before: Put this on to boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Cool.

In the morning add:

3-1/2 c. sifted flour

1/2 t. baking soda

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. cloves

1 t. salt

1/2 c. nuts (any kind; optional)

Mix with a wooden spoon, transfer to a loaf pan, and bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Cool completely before slicing

Meg Murchie’s Scottish Scones

2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1 t. cream of tartar

3/4 t. baking soda (level)

1 t. baking powder

2 dessert spoons of sugar (about a tablespoon)

2 dessert spoons of butter (about a tablespoon)

1 beaten egg

1 c. buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Rub in shortening with fingertips. Add beaten egg and buttermilk. Halve the dough and cut into four pieces. Bake on lightly oiled griddle.