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It’s been a while since I’ve had the legitimate opportunity for a Getting Grilled edition of The Food Dude and I’m here today at “Da Cabin” of one of my good friends, Ms. Terra Hunt.
Terra wants to give us a rehash of her late grandmother’s recipe for old fashioned Newfoundland tea buns, also called “raisin scones,” in the mainland parts.
Food Dude: Thanks for inviting me to your cabin and agreeing to do this interview, Terra.
Terra Hunt: My pleasure.
FD: Terra, I’m not going to claim to be an expert on tea buns because when it comes to the old fashioned baked goods, my attention is often is placed on modernizing them, but they typically don’t have coconut added along with raisins. Why does this recipe have both raisins and coconut?
TH: Toxic femininity meant that long ago, the women who baked these treats didn’t like to stir the pot by making too many changes to baked goods. I’m a modern woman and thus didn’t see even the tiniest problem in playing around with my ingredients to see how I could make it better or different. It was on a whim. But the coconut somehow manages to keep the buns moist when you’d expect it to make them feel drier on the mouth. It’s counterintuitive but it somehow works. Don’t ask me how.
FD: I love that. Is this the only change you made to your grandmother’s recipe?
TH: For now, yes. I made lots of changes in the beginning and tried to get rid of the canned milk addition because I felt that it just perpetuated a relic Newfoundlander stereotype from poor times and you know how I despise those. Turns out that canned milk actually makes a huge difference and so as much as I hated it, I had no choice but to admit it made for higher quality tea buns. Other than that, I typically don’t like raisins. They’re basically the most bland, unappealing form of fruit you can get so I tried to substitute with all kinds of things which for whatever reason seemed to overpower the other subtle flavours so in the end, I even kept the raisins.
FD: So, I suppose as much as us modern-minded young people tend to scoff at old fashioned recipes and techniques, half the time they’re pretty much on point.
TH: Whoa. Hold on there, Skippy. That’s a leap. This time they just got lucky. Most alterations I make are wild improvements.
FD: If you say so. Moving on, does this pair as well with tea as the name suggests?
TH: Yes. As a kid I never liked tea but as I got older it became an acquired taste. Keep in mind, tea buns are essentially scones, which traditionally are almost always served with tea. It’s just mild flavours coupled with more mild flavours and somehow makes you feel all warm and cozy. Hard to knock the combo, no matter how much you want to.
FD: Last question. Did we bring any of these tea buns to the cabin with us tonight?
TH: I definitely didn’t.
FD: Well, I did. (Unveils tea buns). Would you put the kettle on?
TH: (Laughs) You know what? Sure.
Terra’s Tea Buns
- 9x13 baking sheet
- 3 cups flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup canned evaporated milk
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ cup coconut
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Use hands or a food processor to cut butter into the flour to create a course meal. Combine together the flour-butter meal, sugar, baking powder, coconut, raisins and salt and create a well in the centre. Add milk, lemon juice and vanilla to the well and mix thoroughly to make a dough. Preheat oven to 400 F. On a floured or plastic wrapped surface, roll out the dough to approx. inches thick and use an empty tin can to cut out circles. Recombine remaining dough to roll out again and repeat process until no more circles can be cut. Add circles to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
So sorry to hear about your communication issues with your son this Christmas. I read between the lines a bit and you have my sincerest sympathies. Hopefully things will improve later on. In the meantime, I hope you keep up the good work with your food articles!
Brenda C. – Gander, NL
Thanks for reaching out and for the support. I’m glad you could read between the lines with that article as it was meant to convey a much more concise message but some things ended up on the cutting room floor. Happy New Year!
Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef transplanted to Ontario who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients. You can reach him at email@example.com.