Cape Breton Oatcakes Recipe

Anne's note: I prefer the savory version as it is closer to the original Scottish version ; my grandmother in Nova Scotia uses 'pinhead' oatmeal, a fine grind of oatmeal sold in the Maritimes, "Ogilivy's" is the most popular brand there. Processing the oats in a food processor for a few seconds should help.

"If desired process the oats in a food processor for 10 seconds to get a finer texture. . . The original recipe for oatcakes likely arrived with Scottish settlers in Nova Scotia. Fine oatmeal ground in the pioneer's gristmills, a little fat worked with fingertips, and perhaps a touch of sugar, made a crispy baked "cake" to eat with cheese or jam. Over the years, Cape Bretoners (and eventually all cooks across Canada) used rolled oats and more sugar to make a coolie-like oatcake. The Glenghorm Resort in Ingonish, Nova Scotia, prints a recipe for these regional favorites on its postcards. Trilibys, a British version, richer and filled with a cooked date mixture, lead to the Date Sandwich Cookies so popular in Canada over the years. "

Step 1

Sweet version: Stir together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt; rub in shortening with fingertips. Mix in water with fork, until ball forms; divide in half.

Step 2

On a floured surface, roll out each half to 1/4 inch (5 mm) thickness. Cut into 2 1/2 inch (6 squares), then into triangles. Bake on lightly greased baking sheets in 350F oven for 15 minutes or till lightly browned. Transfer to racks to cool. MAKES: 60

Step 3

Savory Variation: (to serve with cheese) Mix 2 cups Scotch-type oatmeal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tsp each granulated sugar and baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Work in 1/3 cup shortening, lard or bacon fat. Add 1/4 cup cold water. Proceed as above.

SOURCE: The 1st decade chapter of _A Century of Canadian Home Cooking_

Things You'll Need

  • 2c Flour; all purpose
  • 2c Rolled oats
  • 1c Brown sugar; packed
  • 2ts Baking powder
  • 1/2ts Salt
  • 1c Shortening
  • 1/2c Cold water
  • 2c Oatmeal; scotch type*
  • 1c Flour; all purpose
  • 2ts Sugar, granulated
  • 2ts Baking powder
  • 1/4ts Salt
  • 1/3c Shortening; or lard or bacon fat
  • 1/4c Cold water

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