These cookies were one of my mother's signature holiday treats. No one else made them. Many people had never heard of them. Everyone wanted to know what was in them and how they were made.
I don't remember how Mom got a hold of this recipe. Last year I was disheartened when I couldn't find it among my cookbooks so I decided to do a search on the Internet. There were several recipes but somehow they just weren't like Mom's. Finally, as I cleaned out her house in New York this past Spring, I found it and several others including her date nut bread.
You will need an electric skillet to make these. There is no substitute. I've tried these in a regular frying pan, a stovetop griddle, etc. to no avail.
7 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups vegetable shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup scalded dried currants
1. In a large bowl, sift together flour and sugar, salt and nutmeg.
2. Using a pastry blender, cut in vegetable shortening until a course meal is formed. Add eggs, vanilla and milk.
3. Place currents in a small fine strainer. Pour boiling water over them or place the strainer briefly in boiling water. The idea is to plump them up. Then add currants to the mixture and mix well.
4. Wrap dough in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Roll and cut into shape using a round biscuit cutter.
6. Using an electric skillet set at 300 degrees, fry without any grease until lightly brown on both sides.
These "tea cakes" are traditionally served on March 1 which is Saint David's Day - Saint David being the patron saint of Wales.