Outlander Cast Blog Exclusive - Annette Badland's (Mrs. Fitz!) Favorite Holiday Recipe

Written by: Blake Larsen
We are so excited to bring you the second installment of #Gonelander, our new series where we interview cast and crew who are no longer part of the Outlander series, but who we miss terribly. Mary and I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with actress Annette Badland, who you'll remember as the beloved Mrs. Fitz from season one of Outlander. 

You can find the full audio interview here.  

In an exclusive piece reserved just for the fans of the Outlander Cast Blog, we asked Mrs. Fitz herself to provide for us her favorite holiday recipe so we could share it with you and give you the opportunity to make it for your family.
In the fantastic interview that I really recommend you listen to (because she provides some interesting and unheard behind-the-scenes content), she revealed that her favorite recipe is a traditional Scottish dessert known as Black Bun.  
Click "read more" for the recipe and, thanks to Rampant Scotland, a little history behind the exceptionally unique pastry that Annette truly loves...
This is a traditional recipe for a treat which is often eaten at the end of the year at Hogmanay. But it needs to be made several weeks in advance so that it can mature. Indeed, it can be kept for up to six months if kept in an airtight container. Don't be put off by the formidable list of ingredients. It is relatively easy to make and every cook has his or her own variations on the ingredients. 
The basic Black Bun recipe has remained the same for hundreds of years. Interestingly, though, its original holiday has slipped out from under it and realigned itself. 
For centuries, the Scots (like the Irish and other agrarian European societies) celebrated New Year's Day in the spring – the idea being that the new year properly began when the first new growth did. But, the calendar reforms of the mid-16th century started to change this way of thinking and, in 1599, King James VI of Scotland and his council officially changed the celebration date of New Year's to January 1st. As a result, Black Bun now starts turning up in Scottish stores around the same time the Christmas cakes do, and is present on many Scottish tables for the Hogmanay holiday.  To learn more about Hogmany, click here.
Making Black Bun is essentially a two-stage process. First you make the pastry, then the filling. You line your chosen container with the pastry, fill it up, seal the top with more pastry, bake... and then wait. If you are looking for a Scottish cake to serve immediately, this is not the one. Black Bun must be allowed to mature / settle in a cake tin or other sealed container for at least ten days... and longer is better.
Photo courtesy: Hi Cookery
THE INGREDIENTS:
For the crust:
  • 3/4 pound of flour
  • 4 ounces butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 beaten egg to bind
For the filling:
  • 1 pound of flour
  • 2 pounds of Valencia raisins or other big, plump dark raisin, preferably organic (to avoid the taste of the sulfate preservatives)
  • 2 pounds of dried currants (substitute golden raisins / sultanas if you have trouble getting currants. You may like to mix in some other dried fruit, such as cranberries, but this will not be strictly traditional.)
  • 6 ounces almonds
  • 6 ounces mixed candied fruit peel
  • 6 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 ounce ground ginger
  • 1/2 ounce ground cloves or cinnamon
  • 1 small teaspoon bicarbonate of soda / bread soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons black treacle / blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or whiskey
  • Enough beaten egg or buttermilk to moisten the mixture
THE METHOD
  • First, to make the crust: sift the 3/4 pound of flour together with the salt, cut in the butter (you may want to do this in a food processor), stir in the baking powder, and add enough beaten egg to make a pliable dough.  Roll it out thin (saving enough to use to cover the cake) and use it to line a large greased pan – a 9-inch springform is ideal. Press the pastry dough well into the pan, pushing it into edges and corners. If there are any tears or joins, brush them lightly with water and seal them well. Leave about 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch of pastry at the top of the pan to seal the top crust to.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • For the filling: clean the dried fruit if necessary, and if the almonds have not been blanched and chopped already, do that yourself. Chop the peel finely (it's rarely chopped finely enough right out of the package).
  • Sift the flour. Mix the fruit with half the flour and the granulated sugar; add the allspice, black pepper, and other spices.
  • Sift the remainder of the flour with the baking soda and cream of tartar and stir into the fruit mixture. Add the brandy/whiskey and beaten egg or buttermilk, using just enough to moisten the mixture. (It should not be too soggy or batter-y, so go slowly at this stage so you don't overdo it.)
  • Pack this mixture into the prepared, pastry-lined pan. Flatten and even out the surface. Moisten the outer edges of the pastry with water: apply the pastry top and seal it to the edges.
  • With a skewer, make four holes through the top of the pastry, right down to the bottom of the pan. Use a fork to prick the surface of the top crust all over. Brush it with the beaten egg.
  • Bake the cake at 350F for approximately three hours. Test for doneness by thrusting a heated skewer down the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack in the pan or tin. When cold, turn out carefully onto a place covered with a piece of foil. Use more foil to wrap: seal into a cake tin or airtight plastic container. Keep for at least ten days in a cool dry place before attempting to cut the cake, or it will fall apart.

Black Bun will keep for weeks, even months, when kept cool and dry in a sealed container.

For reference, here are the steps in pictures (courtesy of Hi Cookery):
Step 1

 Step 2



Step 3



Step 4



Step 5



Step 6



Step 7



This is an excerpt from the Outlander Cast interview with Annette Badland that was recorded exclusively for Outlander Cast Blog readers. To hear the rest of the interview, you can find the audio interview here



Stay tuned for more episodes in our #Gonelander Series – we have some exciting interviews headed your way in the coming weeks! 


2 comments

  1. Great interview with Annette! I wish there was some way to get her into future episodes! What an amazing, talented actress with such a down-to-earth personality.

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