Fat Rascal Recipe

A Fat Rascal is a crumbly and delicious cross between an English scone and a kind of firm cake. Nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, cherries and almonds flavour this marvellous afternoon tea treat.

They were one of our favourite afternoon tea bites from Betty's tea rooms in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. We have missed them enormously since we've lived in Canada. Some time ago, we began to research them online, hoping to find a good recipe so that we could try making them ourselves.

Fat Rascals are traditionally baked in the North of England. Apparently they are usually made with either less or no fruit - but it's the fruit that makes them so special to me. In particular, my older son adores the cherries on the top, and they do look pretty with the glaze.

I was delighted to find a delicious recipe by Karen Booth from www.lavenderandlovage.com. We tried it, and thought it was fantastic - pretty much how we remember them, only better. Rascals really are best straight from the oven, even though they are more crumbly that way. I think the ones we bought from Betty's were less fresh. 

Fat rascals are set to be a regular tea time treat at our place from now on!!

Fat Rascal Recipe

Level: easy
Time: 40 minutes (includes cooking)
Makes 6

1 lightly beaten egg
2 cups (300g) plain flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (130g) cold butter, cubed
Rounded 1/3 cup (90g) caster (fine) sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup (50g) raisins
1/3 cup (50g) sultanas
1/4 cup (50g) currants
1/4 cup (50ml) milk

To finish:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Glace cherries and whole blanched almonds, to decorate

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F (gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

  • Sieve the flour, baking soda and baking powder from a height into a large bowl in order to allow plenty of air in.

  • Add the salt and stir lightly.

  • Rub the butter into the flour, allowing it to fall high from your fingers back into the bowl. Once it is like fine bread crumbs, stir in the sugar, spices, zest and dried fruit.

  • Add the egg and enough of the milk (don't add it all at once) to make a soft dough. Bring the dough together as gently as possible with your fingertips or a blunt knife. Avoid kneading the dough.

  • Divide the mixture into six equal pieces and shape gently into a flattened rounds. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

  • Make a glaze by mixing the egg yolk and water together in a little bowl. Brush over the top and then decorate each fat rascal with two halves of cherry and  three whole almonds, to make a face.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for between 15 and 20 minutes, until they are golden on top.

Eat them fairly soon after they are from the oven to have them at their best.

Serve with

We always eat them with butter. They taste fabulous! They are quite filling in their own right and we don't usually have them with anything else other than a good cup of tea.

In the winter, we occasionally used to have them with hot buttered pikelets and tea.

Earl Grey goes well with the citrus flavours, and we also like to serve them with mint tea or rooibos.

If you loved this Fat Rascal recipe, you might also enjoy our Lemon Scones.