Catholic Recipe: Bannock
Also Called: Oat Cake
A long-ago saint whose feast comes in June is Saint Columba, a missionary from Ireland to the Picts, a name given to the Scots in the sixth century. He was in his forty-fourth year when with twelve companians he crossed the sea in a curragh, a boat of wickerwork covered with hides, and landed at Iona on the eve of Pentecost in the year 563. He spent most of the remaining years of his life among the inhabitants of the glens and straths of northern Scotland. The stories of him that have come down to us show him a kind and gentle man who founded many monasteries and churches and got along well with the Scottish shepherds and sheep raisers. When he died it was at the foot of the altar before which he had spent much of his life.
On his day, even at the present time in various parts of Scotland, an oaten cake is baked in his honor, and in the dough is placed a silver coin. To the child who receives the coin in his share of the cake goes the honor of being put in charge of the new lambs for the next twelve months, an office very popular with small shepherds.
The cake to which we refer is known as a Bannock from the Gaelic bannach, meaning a cake; that is, a large round scone or oatcake. It is a thing of substance and may be made of oatmeal, wheat, or barley flour. We give here a popular variety.
Blanch and shred the almonds and mix them with the flour, sugar, and orange peel on a pastry board. Make a well in the center into which put the butter and knead until it is well blended. Roll out and form into round cakes, pinching the edges, and prick the centers with a fork. Bake on a greased baking sheet in a 375° F. oven for one hour.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951