There is a forgotten food dating back over 700 years ago called the Tosset Cake. This little spiced biscuit dates back centuries; most likely linked to holy day celebrations to mark the feast day of St. Oswald in England. The Tosset Feast was held every year for many centuries. The Tosset Cake was a prized Lancashire treat, flavoured with caraway and coriander seeds but it has not been manufactured since the First World War when butter and sugar were rationed. They make a nice change from shortbread, but are similar because of their high butter content.
In the UK, starring the world-renowned chef and food advocate, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, a series of ‘lost foods’ was featured on a international television show within the community around St Oswald’s Church, and included the revival and filming of the traditional Tosset Feast.
Creating these historical biscuits will be like stepping back in time. They will also make for great conversation as well. Give the recipe a try for your next gathering!
Ingredients (makes 25):
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
500g unsalted butter, softened
1 heaped teaspoon caraway seeds
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds
Icing sugar, for decorating
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Sieve the flour and sugar into a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Lightly crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar, then add to the bowl. Stir the mixture so it comes together to form a dough, bringing it together to make a ball, then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for around 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a flour-dusted surface to roughly ½cm thick, then stamp out circles with a 6cm pastry cutter. Place the dough circles onto a flour-dusted baking tray and sprinkle with a little sugar. Pop in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm (you want them to be a nice pale colour, rather than golden). Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, then dust with icing sugar and serve.