Eccles Cakes

Some of my recipes recently have been a bit “healthy” with a distinct lack of butter so it’s probably about time that I made up for that with a recipe that requires a good 14oz of butter. It is a fairly straight-forward recipe but the pastry is easy to get wrong as producing lots of layers in flakey pastry can be difficult. The instructions below should help you get it right though.
This recipe makes 12 Eccles cakes.

Ingredients: (Ounce to Gram Conversion Chart)

10oz Plain Flour
1tsp Salt
14oz Butter (soften in the microwave, full-power for 5-8 seconds; don’t want the butter to be too soft)
5oz Light Brown Sugar
5oz Currants
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Ground Nutmeg
3oz Candied Peel
1 Orange (zest and juice)
10ml Milk
½ oz Demerara Sugar

Recipe:

Into a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, holding the sieve at head-height. Add the salt and 10oz of the butter (cut the butter into small cubes first). Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until rough “breadcrumbs” form but not too much. You want large lumps of butter within the mixture, rather than getting it all fine with normal pastry like for Almond Tart. Slowly add chilled water to the mixture and bring it together into a dough with your hands.

The pastry dough before being chilled for the first time

The pastry dough before being chilled for the first time

Chill the pastry in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with grease-proof paper using butter to “glue” the paper down.

On the left is a fully greased tray and on the right is a lined tray with the paper "glued" down by the butter

On the left is a fully greased tray and on the right is a lined tray with the paper “glued” down by the butter

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured work-surface with a rolling pin to loosen it up. Gather the pastry back up and then roll out in one direction to get a long rectangle about 1.5cm thick (keep adding flour where necessary to stop the rolling pin and pastry sticking).

The pastry rolled out in one direction

The pastry rolled out in one direction

Fold a third of the pastry back in on itself from one of the short ends and then fold the other third from the other end on top.

The pastry folded in on itself

The pastry folded in on itself

Turn the pastry 90o, flour the surface and then roll out again in one direction. Repeat this 6 or 7 times until the pastry is smooth and easy to work with. Fold up the pastry and chill for at least 40mins.

The pastry before it goes into the fridge again

The pastry before it goes into the fridge again

Melt the remaining 4oz of butter in a small pan on a low heat and then allow to cool. In a mixing bowl, place the brown sugar, currants, cinnamon, nutmeg, candied peel and the orange. Mix the ingredients together and then add the cooled butter. Mix and then allow to set (will go from being runny and shiny to dull and stiff).

The filling before the butter has been allowed to set

The filling before the butter has been allowed to set

Pre-heat the oven to 200oC (400oF, Gas Mark 6).

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured work-surface with a rolling pin, rolling in both directions as you would with normal pastry. The pastry should be about 7mm thick (quite thick).

Cut circles out of the pastry, about 10cm in diameter. You should get 12 in total with a little bit of pastry left over.

Spoon 1 ½ tsps of the currant mixture into the middle of each circle. Use a pastry brush to brush milk along one half of the circle of pastry and then fold the circle to produce a semi-circle with the currant mixture inside it.

The rolled out pastry and a circle of it with the filling in the middle of it

The rolled out pastry and a circle of it with the filling in the middle of it

Gently press the edge of the pastry together with your thumb and index finger along the arc of the semi-circle. Turn over and repeat to completely seal up the pastry. Fold the two ends into the middle, turn over and shape into a ball with your hands. Be gentle to prevent the pastry from getting too thin and splitting.

Fold the ends of the pasty into the middle of the ball

Fold the ends of the pasty into the middle of the ball

Brush the top with milk, sprinkle with demerara sugar, make three cuts with a knife and then place on the prepared baking sheet.

The Eccles cakes before they go into the oven

The Eccles cakes before they go into the oven

Bake the Eccles cakes in the oven for 20mins, turning around halfway through. Take the cakes out of the oven and allow to cool completely before eating.

Note that some of the butter will leak out of the cakes in the oven and make a mess.

Eccles Cakes

A well-known favourite this one, hopefully I have done it justice.
You may prefer to sweeten the pastry and if so, add 5oz caster sugar to the flour.

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