It was just before Easter that I did a talk at Castleford Library. I was very privileged to be invited back to the ‘Friends of Castleford Library’ group. My talk was about Lenten and Easter baking and how different cultures celebrated this time of the year with glorious foods.
One of the wonderful things about this group is their interest in all things baking and they were especially pleased I’d baked a simnel cake. Amongst our foody conversations, the topic of ground rice came up, as they had experienced some difficulty sourcing it and wanted to reprise some of their favourite family recipes. After the talk, I did a quick search of the usual supermarkets and grocery stores and did manage to buy a packet, though the usual size is 500g, so there’s plenty to try out those much-loved recipes.
What is ground rice?
Ground rice is a type of rice, either brown or white, which has been milled and ground into a powder. It has a slightly coarser texture than rice flour but both are considered an excellent source of fibre, which can help with digestive health and reduce cholesterol levels. So, it’s a healthy and gluten-free choice!
My favourite recipe with ground rice from Grandma Abson’s collection is raspberry buns and since I bought my (largish) packet of ground rice, we’ve made them a few times for different events. We even did some for the coronation! My grandchildren love baking them. The best part of the process comes when the small balls of dough of formed they stick their thumbs in the centre of the dough to make a hole for the raspberry jam! Here’s Grandma Abson’s recipe.
6oz/175g plain flour
4oz/110g butter or lard
6oz/175 ground rice
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (leaving out 1 white)
Pinch of salt
Milk to mix
Rub the butter into the flour and then add the ground rice, sugar, baking powder, salt and eggs (well-beaten) and milk. Mix to a stiff consistency. Form small buns from the dough and put these on well-greased tins. Brush over with the white of egg. Make a hole in the centre and put a little jam in each one. Bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven (400F, Mark 6, 200C).
A firm favourite
Ground rice is guaranteed its place in traditional British baking and features in recipes from Tudor times onwards, with a whole series of dishes such as ground rice cake. In more recent times, ground rice pudding was a popular choice for school dinners in the 1940s and 50s. Grandma Abson served it regularly. As a special treat we had a spoonful of homemade raspberry jam in the centre of your dish which you swirled round to make a pattern, using a spoon, not your thumb this time!