Eccles cakes…Famously from the Town of *Eccles, lancashire & has been around roughly since the 1700’s ( Historical cake klaxon ! )
*note – Eccles was also the name of a character created & played by the late great Spike Milligan in the goon show, & is the name of a dog in coronation street, Both of which I’m a fan of 😉
I like some of the old nicknames, squash fly cake, fly pie..but my favourite is flies grave yard..all due to the squashed currants ( don’t let that put you off though ) 🙂
They came back into prominence a few years ago, with restaurants like St johns in London producing them and getting them back into the limelight…some people went a bit to far and tried to change them into something unrecognizable !
I worked with a head chef ( who I no longer work for by the way ) Who asked me to make a “strawberry” Eccles cake.
” So it has no currants in ? ” I said. ” No …just strawberries, sugar & cornflour ” he replied.
Knowing that was no nearer an Eccles cake then the moon is to a lump of Edam cheese, with a heavy heart I made them….& what a soggy mess, like a burst acne spot ! I was vindicated & never asked to make such tripe again.
Now these cakes are made mainly with currants, with a bit of spice & peel, wrapped in a lard based flaky pastry. They are traditionally served with a nice mature Lancashire cheese, but there is no reason why they can’t be served warm with custard, clotted cream or a nice scoop of ice cream, or just on their own as a cheeky snack.
I like to play around with flavours, not too much as to veer to far away from how these cakes are meant to be made.
This recipe I think is great for this time of year ( late Autumn/winter at the time of writing this post ) I’ve added dried figs & brandy & a touch of ginger To “warm” them up a bit.
have a go at what is a Heritage treat going way back in British baking history !
YOU WILL NEED:
Baking tray lined with greasproof
heavy based saucepan & spoon or spatula
An oven heated to 165c
A chilly night to serve warm by candle light to heat your self up ( & a partner if you so choose) 😉
Makes around 12-14 cakes, they can be kept for at least 5 days. Filling can be made days in advance & kept refrigerated.
450g puff pastry ( shop bought or homemade )
40g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
100g chopped dried figs
50g mixed peel
finely grated zest of 1/2 an orange.
4 tablespoons of brandy.
METHOD: – Filling
Melt butter, sugar & spice together until all is dissolved.
Add the fruit & zest and fold in together, cool, then add brandy, make sure all fruit is coated, then place in fridge to chill right down & set.
roll out sheet of pastry, cut out 4 inch rounds.
Roll each round out a bit more, adding another 1/2 inch to size.
With egg yolk brush the edges of each round.
Take a ” squash ball ” size of the now cooled filling, flatten down slightly and place in centre of pastry round, leaving at least an inch around the edge free.
Fold in the edges until filling is totally enclosed in parcel of pastry.
Turn over rounds, and pat down until about 1/2 inch thick.
Brush with yolk, and score three lines on top.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 165c for about 15-20 mins, until they have a nice golden colour and pastry has risen.
Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with cream, custard or ice cream. Or serve without sugar dusting with a selection of cheese.
click on any image to enlarge
© The Cake-Shaker 2012