Monday, March 10, 2014

Irish Oven Oatcakes

An Oven Oatcake and a cup of hot tea is the perfect excuse to take a break and sit for a bit.

My husband received a grant to study International Politics at the University of Ulster in the early 90s,  so we moved to Northern Ireland and that's where our oldest daughter Ùna was born.

And, as it turned out, the simple no-fuss cuisine of the country was perfectly suited for my pregnancy.  Stews, boiled potatoes, soda bread and fish 'n' chips satisfied my cravings and Irish Oven Oatcakes settled my stomach.

As soon as we were situated in our little apartment on the University of Ulster's Coleraine campus, we ventured into town and I made my first purchase, a mini photo-filled cookbook called "Step By Step Irish Farmhouse Cooking."
My favorite little Irish cookbook.

That 64-page cookbook was and still is so dear to me. I enjoy looking at the pictures, deciding what to make and shopping for ingredients.

Today, more than 20-years later, I continue to regularly make my four favorite recipes from the book — Guinness Beef Stew, Irish Soda Bread, Irish Potato Scones and Oven Oatcakes.

With the damp and blustery Irish-like weather we've been having lately in Portland, the Oven Oatcakes are just the thing to make. Oatcakes are buttery, lightly sweet and the perfect excuse to sit for a bit, relax and enjoy a good cup of hot tea.

Here's the recipe:

Oven Oatcakes
(makes 16)
2 cups fine ground oatmeal
(Note: In Ireland it was easy to find ground oatmeal in the supermarket. Here, you can buy Bob's Redmill Oat Flour or just grind old-fashioned oats yourself using a food processor)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

If you can't find ground oatmeal in the store, just make it yourself by grinding old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor.

In a large bowl, combine the ground oatmeal, flour, baking soda and sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until a soft dough forms.

Add the melted butter to the ground oats, flour, baking soda and sugar.

Mix just until a soft dough forms.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment or wax paper and pat it into a square shape. Use a rolling pin to make the square larger and 1/4 -inch thick. Use a bench scraper or edge of a large knife to keep the sides and corners square.
Set the dough on wax paper or parchment and pat it to form a square.

Use a rolling pin to get the dough 1/4 of an inch thick and keep the sides and corners square by using a bench scraper or large knife to shape the edges.

Cut the large square into 16 even-sized oatcakes and prick each three times with a fork. Use a spatula to transfer the oatcakes to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until golden and crisp.
Cut the dough in half and then quarters. Repeat this horizontally to get 16 even sized oatcakes.

Use a fork to prick each oatcake three times.

Place the oatcakes on the prepared sheetpan and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

The finished oatcakes should be crisp and golden brown.

A stack of Oven Oatcakes ready to be enjoyed with cups of hot tea.


  1. Could you please post the recipe in this book for Irish Tea Brack.
    I'm sure this is the book I used to have but have sadly lost over the twenty years since I last used it. I loved their tea brack recipe!!
    Or, I can send you my email address if you can't post it here.
    Thanks, Antigone (Melbourne, Australia)

    1. You are right,the Irish Tea Brack is in it. It's a wonderful recipe and I'm happy to share it.

      Irish Tea Brack
      ("Step-By-Step Irish Cooking," Murdock Books, 1992)

      Hint: Tea Brack is a traditional tea bread. It is like a fruit cake, but has no butter or margarine. It will keep for approximately one month if stored in an airtight container.

      500 g. raisins, cut in halves
      500 g sultanas
      1 cup brown sugar
      2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
      2 tablespoons lemon juice
      1 cup hot strong tea
      2/3 cut Irish whiskey
      4 eggs, lightly beaten
      3 1/2 cups plain flour
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
      3 tablespoons whiskey (extra)

      1. Place fruit, sugar, lemon rind and juice, tea and whiskey into a large mixing bowl. Cover and allow to stand overnight.

      2. Preheat oven to 150-degrees C (300F) and brush a deep 23-cm round cake tin with melted butter, line base and sides with paper; grease paper. Pour eggs onto soaked fruits and mix through.

      3. Sift together flour, baking powder and spices. Spoon onto fruit mixture and stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

      4. Spoon into prepared cake tin, smooth surface. Bake at 150C for 1 hour or until cooked. Cool slightly in tin before turning out. While still warm, pour extra whiskey over.

      Note: 1 kg of good quality mixed fruit can replace raisins and sultanas if desired.