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Eccles Cakes Recipe
A small round pastry, originating in Eccles, Lancashire (which has now been subsumed into Greater Manchester); with a dried fruit filling. They are delicious with good Lancashire cheese, and a pot of strong tea. Banbury cakes are similar.
The first time Eccles cakes are mentioned, in around the middle of the 18th century, minced meat (often calf’s foot) was generally included – in the same way it would have been for all items calling for mincemeat.
1 batch of Flaky Pastry (q.v.)
a little extra Flour for rolling out
2 oz/60gr Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 oz/60gr Dark Brown Sugar
1 oz/30gr finely-chopped Mixed Peel,
4 oz/120gr Currants
¼ teaspoon (1ml) Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1ml) Grated Nutmeg
1 Egg White
1 tablespoon (15ml) Caster Sugar
Equipment needed: a 3 ins/7.5cm plain pastry cutter; 2 baking sheets
To prepare the filling - beat the butter and sugar until it's pale.
Add the finely-chopped peel, the currants and the spices - mix well together.
Roll the pastry out on a very-lightly-floured surface to a thickness of one-eighth of an inch/0.3cm thick - so pretty thin.
Cut the pastry into rounds with the cutter, re-rolling any leftovers to gain the maximum quantity.
Fill each round with a teaspoon (5ml) of the filling, then dampen the edges of the pastry over with a little water. Bring the sides of the pastry over, to make small bundles, then turn them over and very gently press them into a round shape again. The filling mixture should just show through through the pastry.
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Score the top of each cake a few times to make a lattice pattern.
Refrigerate the cakes for about 15 minutes, while the oven is heating.
Brush them with the lightly-beaten egg white then sprinkle them with a littlecaster sugar.
Bake them on the top shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes - or until the pastry is golden brown.
Cool and serve.