The Eccles cake. Traditionally currants encased in flaky pastry. What’s not to like? Add to this that they’re my father’s favourite cake (to the point that in my head Eccles cake = my dad) and bob’s your uncle, a perfect Sunday bake.
Eccles cakes (aka squashed fly cakes) originate from the town of Eccles in North West England, though unlike Melton Mowbray pork pies or Champagne, they do not benefit from Protected Geographical Status and hence, can be produced anywhere (i.e. a village in Sussex) and still be labelled as such.
The recipe for this batch came from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible (pp. 116-117). Though traditionally made with currants, Mary opts for a mix of currants (100g) and candied peel (50g), while I opted for (or rather, what I had in the cupboard) mixed dried fruit that contained candied peel. You can use ready-made puff pastry, but for me, especially on a Sunday, I just feel that removing this aspect of this bake would leave out a lot of the technical prowess required (I am no means saying I am anti the use of ready-made pastry, for example, I do not possess any skill or inclination to make filo).
1. Divide your butter into four equal portions. Breadcrumbarise your flour and one portion of the butter. Add lemon juice and water to create a soft dough.
2. Roll out your dough (roughly three times as long as it is wide), dot a portion of butter over the top two thirds. Fold the bottom third over the middle third, then the top third down. Wrap in clingfilm and let it chill out for fifteen minutes or so.
3. Starting with the folds of the dough to the left (I had to google this, my Sunday brain clearly wasn't working, just think 'like opening a book'), repeat step two until the remaining portions of butter have been used up. After the final roll up leave it to chill for at least thirty minutes.
|Evidently, I got a little neater with my rolling the |
second time round.
4. To put the cakes together, roll out the pastry mega thinly and cut into eight rounds about 15cm in diameter. Mary's recipe makes about eight cakes, I can't handle that amount of pastry in one go so find it easier to split it into four pieces, aiming for two rounds in each.
5. Mix together your filling and pop a tablespoon of each in the centre of each round.
6. Dampen the edges of the pastry and draw together to encase the filling. Turn them over and flatten slightly with a rolling pin (the idea is that you want the filling to just show through, I however, had a couple of occasions where it evidently wanted to break free adding to their 'charm'). Make three slits in the top of each, brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle on some caster sugar.
7. Bake at 220˚C (180˚C fan/Gas 7) for about fifteen minutes until they are golden. Leave on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before leaving to cool completely on a wire rack (seriously, let them cool, otherwise the filling will burn the hell out of the inside of your mouth, trust me).
Hosted this month by Ros at The more than occasional baker (and run with Caroline at Caroline Makes), I am linking this up to February’s Alphabakes where this month’s random letter is ‘E’.