As we’ve been looking at Girdle/Griddle pastries/Scones, maybe we should consider how to use the girdle correctly.
Griddle (or Girdle) Cooking
Girdle cooking is an old fashioned way of making scones, which is well worth preserving. Not only is it good fun, especially with kids around or budding young cooks, it just makes sense. The method of preparation is the same for any oven-baked scones, but they are cooked on a griddle, hot plate or frying pan on the stove. They are also great for cooking on the BBQ.
The girdle is the predecessor of the modern stove top or hot plate. The girdle, a flat iron plate with a long looped handle, was hung over an open fire in the kitchen and lowered into position when needed for cooking. Scones and cakes were cooked on it.
With the advent of the kitchen range, girdle recipes were baked on the flat metal plate that formed part of the top of the cooker. This, rather aptly, was named a griddle after the girdle which it resembled.
Today some solid fuel stoves contain a griddle, but few electric ones do, so girdle cookery has reverted back to using the traditional girdle that can be used on top of a stove. Girdle cooking is still a live tradition in many parts of England and Scotland.
Traditional recipes originated from festivals while other were derived from local produce or evolved from local customs. As the ingredients and cooking method were both limited, it is not difficult to see why the same recipe appears in various parts of the same country under different names.
Sweet, savoury and plain girdle cakes are delicious eaten straight from the girdle, split and spread with butter or lashings of thick cream and home made preserves.
The key to cooking on a girdle or griddle is to heat it slowly – on low heat, for 10 – 20 minutes until a drop of cold water will start to dance about on the surface. Lightly grease with butter or other fat and cook the cakes for no more than 5 minutes on each side.
A heavy based cast iron pan will substitute well for the griddle.