I thought that I would bring you a delicious, traditional Shetland homebake to give a little taste of Shetland from wherever you are in the world.
This simple, but delicious recipe is for a boiled fruit loaf – what I would call a brönnie [brunny], although throughout Shetland it is probably better known as hufsie. That’s one of the charming things about Shetland, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all definition of the dialect. Just as certain words are pronounced differently in certain areas, words may also have a different meaning in various communities.
Language always fascinates me, and a delve into J.J Graham’s 'The Shetland Dictionary' offers a glimpse into the etymology: he describes a brönnie as ‘a round, thick oatmeal scone’ and, hufsie as, ‘homemade cake, recipe unspecified.’
This is a recipe that I got from my grandmother-in-law who lives in Burra. My husband’s family, and my dad’s family all come from the island of Burra on the west side of Shetland. Here we would always call a boiled fruit loaf a brönnie. It is thought that the recipe originated on the island of Whalsay, where they always call it hufsie. But, as this is my recipe and I’m from Burra, we are calling it a brönnie.