Tuesday 3 September 2013

Luxury Eccles Cakes Recipe

Eccles cakes, originating in Lancashire, England, are one of my favourite tea-time treats. The basic eccles cake is a blend of currants, honey and sugar or syrup baked in a puff pastry shell. Of course, the basic recipe can be extended and adapted any way you wish. I fill mine with mincemeat for Christmas, or with other dried fruit (try dried pumpkin, papaya, currants and cranberries for Halloween). Here is a luxury version using exotic dried fruit that raises the humble Eccles cake into smoething altogether more exciting and unusual.

Luxury Eccles Cakes Recipe

Serves: 12

Luxury eccles cakes. Three pastries of mixed dried fruit in a puff pastry shell, one broken open


175g (6 oz) mixed dried fruit (should contain blueberries and cranberries)
50g (2 oz) dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp brandy or rum
40g (1 1/2 oz) butter
500g (1 lb) packet of puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 egg, beaten

caster sugar, for dusting


In a large bowl, mix together the dried fruit, sugar, spices, lemon zest, brandy or rum and the butter.

Turn the puff pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface and roll out to 3mm (1/6 in) thick. Use a 9cm (3 1/2 in) plain round cutter to stamp as many rounds as you can from the pastry (re-roll any pastry scraps and stamp out more rounds --- you need 12 in all).

Place a rounded teaspoon of the fruit filling in the centre of each pastry circle. Brush around the edges with water then bring the edges up and over the filling, pinching firmly together to seal.

Turn the filled pastry rounds over and use a rolling pin to gently roll them out into 7.5cm (3 in) rounds.

Arrange the Eccles cakes on greased baking trays and brush lightly with beaten egg. Lightly score the tops diagonally three times. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 220ÂșC and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the Eccles cakes are well risen, golden brown on top and crisp to the touch.

Remove from the oven and sift over some caster sugar whilst still hot.

Either eat warm, or leave until cold before serving.

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