I WAS summoned to my bakery counter the other day by a baffled and bewildered work colleague asking me if I’ve ever heard of a Yorkshire Crackneys?

An elderly gentleman was shopping with his son who had been looking for this lost bake for some years now.

He reassured his son he had not lost his marbles, as I told him this was a very popular confection around the West Riding up until the late 1970s, especially from around our Keighley.

Luckily for me I had the privilege to make them as a young apprentice at W Day’s bakers, which is sadly not with us anymore.

I do blame our shopping habits today for the loss of a lot of our regional and traditional foods from the shelves without saying goodbye, along with the family bakers, butchers and greengrocer shops closing down over the years due to the one-shop culture we have now got used to.

It’s always a great privilege to publish any old and forgotten Yorkshire recipe through my baking column for future generations to look back on, and hopefully for you to be inspired to bake again, and to reminisce with your grandparents or parents.

Crackney, from what I know, is a local delicacy from around the 1930s when we used to use up our pastry scraps, rather than throwing them away in the bin after mum’s big bake of the week making her meat and apple pies.

The scrap pastry was reworked and rolled out into a large circular shape, a pile of currants was placed in the middle with sugar, and a knob of butter was added.

The pastry was gathered up to meet in the middle and the whole lot was rolled out flat with a big wooden rolling pin.

The pastry was sometimes scored lightly with a knife into quarters, so that once baked it could be easily broken into four pieces.

I fondly remember my Nana eating Crackney smothered in best butter with a cup of tea on her return home from working at Emu wool mill.

My reputation for regional bakes is always growing thanks to people sending me their own family recipes handed down through the generations.

I fiercely love baking any Yorkshire recipes, and many region bakes around the UK will have a hidden gem known only to the locals.

On a final note, it will be soon Yorkshire Day (August 1) – so dust off the rolling pin because I want you all baking Crackneys again!

Yorkshire Currant Crackney Recipe

Cuts into eight slices


Sweet pastry

250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

50g/2oz icing sugar, sift

150g/5oz butter, cold and cubed

1 orange, zest and juices

1 large egg

Splash of milk


350g/12oz currants

50g/2oz brown sugar

50g/2oz butter


1. In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour and icing sugar from a height.

2. Chop the butter into cubes, then rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Finely grate in the orange zest and juice.

4. Beat the egg with the milk, then add to the mixture and gently work it together until it forms a soft ball of dough.

5. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Dust a little flour onto a work surface and roll out the pastry round to the size of a dinner plate.

7. In a small bowl, add the currants, brown sugar and butter and squeeze together.

8. Pile the currant mixture into the middle of the pastry and gather up to meet in the middle, sealing in the filling.

9. Turn over the currant encased pastry and roll out round using a little flour, until the currants just show through the pastry.

10. Place your Crackney on to a large buttered baking tray, and egg wash.

11. Bake your Crackney in a preheated oven 180c/Gas Mark 5 for around 25/30 minutes, until golden brown in colour.

12. Once baked place the tray onto a cooling wire and sift over a little caster sugar while still warm.

13. Once cool, slice up and spread over the best butter, before sitting down with a nice cup of tea and reminisce of old.