Did you know that the Christian holidays encompassing the three days from All Saint’s Eve (31 October, also known as As Hallow’s Eve or Halloween), All Saint’s day and All Soul’s Day are called Allhallowtide?
Traditionally, around this time of the year, so-called soulers would go from door to door and ask for food in return for a song or a prayer fort he dead. Nowadays, the soulers are mostly children and this tradition is mixing with the custom of wassailing around Christmas time.
The type of food most associated with souling ist he soul cake, a spicy biscuit/cookie-like type of pastry, decorated with a cross made of raisins, a little like a bigger and softer version of a typical christmas cookie.
There are many different recipes for soul cakes, since this tradition has been around for centuries. Some are more like shortcrust pastry while others are softer and look and taste a lot more like scones.
This recipe is quick, simple and delicious. Plus, it is vegan and dairy free!
- 100g margarine/ vegetable fat
- 200g brown sugar
- 300g flour
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts
- 1-2 tbsp soy yoghurt or apple sauce
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- A little vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Raisins to decorate (or add to the pastry)
Mix all ingredients, roll out the pastry about 1 inch thick. Using a drinking glass, cut out round cookies or shape little balls in your hands and press them flat on the baking tray. Traditionally, they are decorated with raisins forming a cross shape, but they tend to get dark and bitter or fall of altogether, so I just add them to the pastry and shape the cross with a sharp knife.
Bake until golden brown. Enjoy.
Probably the most popular souling-song is called „Soul Cake“. In 2009, the famous British singer Sting published his version of the song on his album „If on a Winter’s Night“. Click here!