This is an apple cake made in honour of the 7th century Saint Wilfred, from Ripon in North Yorkshire, where there is a procession around the town during the first week of August to celebrate his life.
St Wilfrid was the Abbot of Ripon and Bishop of York and Ripon Cathedral, built by Wilfred, is dedicated to him. His influence on the town is celebrated with an annual parade led the ‘Saint’ on his horse, accompanied by floats, musicians, dancers and general merry-making.
The cakes (also known as Wilfra Tarts) are essentially cheese and apple turnovers in style. The cakes were originally baked in the town and placed on front steps and window-sills for passers-by to help themselves during the procession. As the origin of this cake pre-dates the first known recipe for Yorkshire pudding, it really does qualify as a ‘Traditional Yorkshire Recipe’.
Here’s a recipe from good old ‘Mrs Appleby’ of the Dalesman.
- 12 oz (330g) shortcrust pastry
- 1 lb (16 oz/450g) peeled and thinly sliced cooking apples
- Three tablespoons of golden syrup (3 oz (85g) of Demerara sugar can be substituted, if preferred)
- 3 oz (85g) Wensleydale cheese, grated
- Roll out a rectangle of pastry around 6″ (15cm) x 4″(10 cm)
- Cover the pastry with the sliced apples
- Top the apples with the syrup, then the grated Wensleydale cheese
- Cover with the another strip of pastry slightly smaller than above. Seal the edges, trim off excess pastry, make a small hole in the centre.
- Repeat the process until all the pastry is used
- Bake the tarts/turnovers in a moderate oven (gas mark 4/350F/180C) until the pastry is golden brown (around 40 minutes).
- Can be eaten hot or cold.
Source: Dalesman 1976, p.649.