The old street cry, “Bawbee baps and buttery rowies,” reminds us of one of the delights that Aberdeen is famous for. This recipe for rowies comes from artist Jake Tilson’s charming cookbook, A Tale of 12 Kitchens, which draws culinary inspiration from Italy, New York, NE Scotland, London, Los Angeles and California.
Whether Jake is choosing a pie in an Ellon bakery, or foraging herbs from his parent’s Tuscany garden, he creates a work of art around his love of food.
350g (12oz) strong white flour
half teaspoon salt
half teaspoon caster sugar
15g (1⁄2 oz) yeast
150g (5fl oz) tepid water
55g (2oz) lard, vegetable fat
or beef dripping
110g (4oz) butter
Find a large mixing bowl, sieve in the flour, add the salt. In a small bowl combine sugar, yeast, add the tepid water, mix and then pour over the flour. Stir the dough with a wooden spoon.
Stretch clingfilm or a damp cloth over the bowl and find somewhere warm for it to rise for 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Take the lard and butter out of the fridge so they can warm up.
When the dough has risen, take another bowl and cream together the lard and butter. Divide this mixture into three in your bowl. Turn out the yeasty, rather sticky dough on to a well-floured board. It needs careful handling.
Roll the dough into a long strip about 10cm (4 inches) wide and 2cm (3⁄4 inch) thick. Take one of the lard-butter piles and spread it on the surface of rolled dough. Gently pick up one end and fold it over two-thirds of the length of the strip; pick up the other end and fold it over to create a slightly heaped square. Let the dough rest somewhere cool for 10 minutes or more. This rests the gluten, which makes flour elastic.
Repeat the rolling larding, folding and resting twice more using the other piles of lard-butter.
Roll out the dough 2cm (3⁄4 inch) thick, divide into 5cm (2inch) squares, folding in the corners. Place the sqares 2 inches apart on a greased, floured baking tray. Cover again with clingfilm or a damp cloth and leave to prove for 30 minutes somewhere warm.
Uncover and place on a middle shelf of a hot oven for 20-25 minutes, 200C/400F/gas 6. They need to be slightly golden. Take out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
They freeze well. To reheat, warm them slightly under a grill. If you have an Aga, put butteries in a paper bag to warm in the oven.
A Tale of 12 Kitchens is much more than a cookbook. (£20, Orion books, London) www.orionbooks.co.uk.Tweet
This is an article from the October 2006 edition of Leopard Magazine. To read much more like this every month, subscribe to Leopard Magazine.