Scottish food: Tattie Scones, or Something New for Breakfast

Oh, those oatcakes were so healthy. Now for a change of pace. This winter was cold and I became a really big fan of a cooked breakfast. A hot plate of potatoes, beans and mushrooms seemed just the thing to set me up for the day. Ideally I would have it every morning, but it remains a bit of a weekend treat as I am just not really organised enough to sort my stuff out during the week.

Today’s post combined the pleasures of a cooked breakfast with a traditional Scottish recipe, tattie scones (or potato scones, if you prefer). Don’t confuse these with normal scones. These are not big and fluffy, but more like a thick, heavy potato pancake. The recipe is a little be reminiscent of Norwegian lefse, but the heroic amount of butter in here means that the dough is a heck of a lot easier to work with – just don’t think about what it is doing to your arteries. These “scones” might not be in need of cream and jam, but they make an excellent accompaniment to breakfast, either covered in lots of cheese and popped under the grill, or served with mushrooms and baked beans.

Surprisingly photogenic, aren’t they?

As I have recently found while blogging about traditional Scottish food, the recipe is very simple. Just potatoes, butter, flour and a little salt to round out the flavour. One tweak that I make is to add a little baking powder. This may not be terribly original, but it does add a little bit of lightness to the tattie scones which I think is quite welcome. Add it or don’t. You’re not missing out, but equally adding it doesn’t take you a million miles from the authentic taste experience.

What I do have to confess is that they can be a bit of a mess to form into shape. If you’re feeling bold, turn the dough onto a well-floured worktop and try rolling it. It will work, but the dough it so moist and sticky from the mashed potatoes that it will often stick to everything. Far easier to butter the frying pan, then shape them directly there (while the pan is still cold, of course!). There are two ways to make them – one large circle, then cut into wedges, or make them as individual smaller rounds, more like pancakes. I go with the wedges, as ’twas ever so in my house, and I quite like the way they look on the plate. Plus, looks pretty impressive as you stand by the cooker, flipping a large pancake, with your brunch guests oohing and aahing.

And finally, if you make them and don’t eat them all in one go, they will happily keep for a couple of days in the fridge, ready to be reheated in the toaster or in a dry frying pan. But I ate them like this – and there were none left!

To make tattie scones (makes one round, or six individual scones, serves 2):

• 250g potatoes(*)
• 50g plain flour
• 25g butter
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Boil until soft, then drain. Return to the pan, add the butter and mash. Add the salt, baking powder and flour, and stir with a spoon until combined.

Lightly grease a frying pan with butter, then add the dough. Use your hands to flatten it, and put over a medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip over(**). Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Both sides should have lots of brown flecks, but will not be evenly coloured. Serve warm or cold.

(*) This is the weight after cooking. Be sure to use floury potatoes if you can. Waxy potatoes make the tattie scones heavier and the dough is impossibly sticky.

(**) You can either flip in the air, but if you’re not feeling brave, slip the pancake onto a well-floured plate. Then put the frying pan on top, flip over, remove the plate, and the tattie scone will be upside down!

7 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Savoury, Scottish Food

7 responses to “Scottish food: Tattie Scones, or Something New for Breakfast

  1. Nargis

    How do you get perfect triangular tatties?

  2. I made these recently from a Sue Lawrence recipe (before I saw yours). They turned out lovely and I would definitely make again (she used baking powder). My neighbour (from Scotland) said the only thing missing was bacon & eggs (it was coffee time so he had no chance of that!). And, it’s not so much that the scones are photogenic, I think you have just captured them well. Your photos are really lovely.

  3. Pingback: Basic Recipe: Savoury Scones – Cheese Crusted Scones « Meanderings through my cookbook

  4. Fiona

    These are just like my Dad used to make🙂

  5. Kerry

    What kind of potatoes do you use? I just tried a similar recipe but it was very ‘wet’ which I think was down to the potatoes. They didn’t cook properly inside as the mixture was very sticky, even after adding loads of flour! These look exactly like the ones I grew up on in Scotland but I’m now in Oz and miss them on a Sunday morning!

    • Hi Kerry – funny, you’re the second person today to ask about what potatoes to use in a recipe! I made macaroon bars a while ago, and it was amazing how much icing sugar you add to just a few spoons of mashed potato – there is so much water in there!

      For the tattie scones, I used floury potatoes as they are drier. If there is too much water in the potatoes, then the mixture gets very wet, even when you add lots of flour. So look for something that is suitable for mashing, like maris piper.

      Good luck!

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