Posted on May 11th, 2011
Ingredients, one pound of flour, two ounces of grocer’s currants, three gills of milk, and a pinch of baking-powder. Mix the above ingredients together in a pan into a firm, smooth, compact paste. Divide this into eight equal parts, roll each into a ball with the hand previously dipped in flour, then roll them out with a rolling-pin, with a little flour shaken on the table to prevent the paste from sticking, to the size of a tea-saucer, and bake the pie-clates upon a griddle-iron fixed over a clear fire to the upper bar of the grate. In about two or three minutes’ time they will be done on the underside; they must then be turned over that they may be also baked on the other side, then taken off the griddle-iron, placed on a plate, and a little butter spread upon each as they are done out of hand.
A pie-clate is a pikelet. A pikelet is not some species of tiny, limnetic fish; rather, it is a small, thick, bland pancake served at tea. Most modern recipes use yeast to leaven, or a combination of yeast and baking powder. From the Welsh bara pyglyd (pitchy bread), a pikelet varies regionally from being not dissimilar to a hole-less crumpet (Australia and New Zealand), to a small, holey pancake (like a perforated blin), to a rather large flapjack (Scotland). Some English refer to pikelets as Scotch pancakes. To further confuse matters, the Yorkshire version appears to be a crumpet that includes currants. It should not, however, be confused with a ‘thinking man’s crumpet,’ particularly if it is Welsh.
Combine 4 cups of flour, about a half cup of dried currants, a cup and a half of milk (a gill is not a breathing apparatus of some species of tiny, limnetic fish; rather, it is equal to four fluid ounces), and one tablespoon of baking powder. One tablespoon is considerably more than one pinch, but I will insist that one pinch is not enough for this much dough. Perhaps the baking powder of Olden Tymes was stronger, but that’s not for me to ponder. Mix until thoroughly combined. Divide this dough into eight parts, rolling each into balls with floury hands, then rolling each on a flour-dusted surface to approximately six inches in diameter. Fry these on a griddle or in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for two or three minutes on each side (keep warm in an oven set to the lowest setting as you finish cooking them). Serve warm, with butter.