The tradition of giving Soul Cakes originated in Britain or Ireland during the Middle Ages, way before Halloween became the commercialized event we now celebrate. All Souls Day was celebrated on November 2nd. On that day, the cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to ‘soulers’ which consited mainly of children and the poor.
They would go from door to door on Hallowmas singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. This may have been the beginning of the current practice of going door to door aksing for treats that is now known as trick-or-treating.
The recipe below makes 14 â€˜cakesâ€™ and is easy and tasty. Make them to add a traditional touch to your Halloween celebration. They are delicious by themselves, but may also be eaten with honey or jam.
1-1/2 cups plain flour (sifted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter (softened & cut into pieces)
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp of white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.) and grease 2 baking pans
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and spices.
Using a pastry blender or two forks, blend in the diced butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add in the beaten egg and white wine vinegar
Mix with a wooden spoon until a firm dough is made
Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes
Flour a working surface and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick
Using a large round pastry cutter, cut into rounds (you should get about 14)
Put the rounds onto the greased baking pans
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until light brown
Serve warm or cold.
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