Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eccles Cakes perfected - my they're good!

 Ahhhh - a picture of my perfected Eccles Cakes which went through a variety of stages before ending up like this crumbly luscious raisin studded delight you see glowing happily above. My first attempt was on a way too hot and humid day where I added just a tad too much water to the dough, for indeed one needs so much less water in one's pastry on such a day, and I didn't keep my pastry cool so it was a very soft texture thus instead of attaining said Eccles Cakes, and no they are not actually what one would think of as a cake but more of a self contained mince pie - but I digress - I ended up with Eccles Biscuits/Cookies:
...which tasted great but were not what I had in mind. SO I thought I have all these amazing strawberries....

 ...with many more to come from our neighbour - I should make strawberry biscuits/cookies like my failed Eccles Cakes - and so I made them on a less humid and hot day and guess what - I ended up with Strawberry Eccles Cakes - ha ha!!!
James loves "water icing" drizzle so I doused them with said delight and they were very, very good. The recipe for them is the same as that below for the actual Eccles Cakes but instead of the raisiny mix you macerate strawberries in sugar until soft and having given up a lot of their juices strain them - use the resultant juice for a nice refreshing drink, perhaps watered down some, and also use the juice to rub on the 'cakes' thus before baking before the necessary sprinkling of sugar!

SO - to the recipe - I have not made pastry with spelt flour until very recently and now I am a convert - it crumblified and toothified the pastry to a divine extent and I am not sure I will ever make all white flour pastry again:

3ozs white flour and 3 ozs regular spelt flour (the brown not the white) mixed together - 3/4 cup each
(the addition of brown spelt flour makes the pastry more sandy/crumbly delicious but you can use all white to very good effect also)

1oz/ 1/8 cup sugar

4 oz/ 1 stick very cold salted butter

1/8 to 1/4 cup - a few liquid ounces of very cold water

1. Put flours in a mixing bowl and grate very cold butter on top - I am not a technical baker but have read the grating is integral to achieving a wondrous texture in your pastry)  - if you keep dipping the chunks of cold butter into the flour to coat it will be easier to grate
2. Rub butter into flours until it looks like breadcrumbs (you can do this in a cuisinart but I like to do everything by hand)
3. Add some of the water and start squushing the pastry and keep adding bit by bit of water until it can be formed into a non-sticky ball - less water is better so squush hard until it comes together: 

5. Put into the fridge to rest for at least one hour - or as long as you like. 

Now to the yummy filling:
First make some hot tea to soak the raisin and currants in - you'll need about 8 fl ozs/one cup - good and strong and soak them for about 2 hours
1 1/2 ozs/about 1/4 cup each of currants and raisins
soaked in hot tea for 2 hours and drained

if you can't get GS do 3 ounces total of sugar but GS makes the cakes sing!!

1oz/ 1/8 cup sugar 

1 1/2 ozs/ 3 tablespoons salted butter 

1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cardamom
NB Many recipes add lemon zest or candied lemon peel but I preferred mine without - of course you may add it to yours!

1. Put all these ingredients in a pan and melt til bubbly and stir frequently until juices/butter has thickened. 

2. Allow to cool. 

3. Strain the above and save the sauce - which also tastes great on it's own!!
4. Roll out the dough nice and thin and cut into 4 inch rounds - I got 9 out of mine after rerolling the scraps a couple of times.

5. Dollop about a good teaspoon of currant goodness in the middle, it doesn't sound like much but it works and if you do more you can't close the cakes, and dot saved sauce around the edges to help stick the cakes together.
6. Fold the dough over the filling thus - all the way round and then squush and squish as necessary to make sure there are no holes on the bottom for the juices to leak out, this pictures a less juicy example but you may experience the juices running out - don't worry everything will be fine, you just get sticky hands!! - beauty is not an important aspect of the cakes at this point - or any really!!
7. When it's all battened down the bottom of the cake should look like this:
8. Turn it over and flatten a little and very gently between your palms then place on a parchment sheet on your baking tray.
The slits on these Eccles Cakes are too long - make sure yours are shorter!
9. Now cut two SHORT slits in the top of each Eccles Cake - I realized too late my cuts were mostly too long and they made the cakes open up too much so maybe only about 1 inch long.
10. Spread some of the leftover sauce on the tops - this will help achieve the lovely browning on the tops - and then sprinkle with sugar before bobbing into the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and lovely:
These slits on the top of these 3 were perfect!

OH MY GOODNESS - these are so good - I poured any leftover sauce in the slits when the cakes were still hot to make them even more juicy.

Allow to cool before you enjoy them with your feet up, a nice cuppa in hand and a good read of the latest British Country Living in your near future!!
I do hope you make these and if you do please post pics and comments on my Facebook page HERE - thanks!

Next up on the blog is a whole bunch o' new designs at my Spoonflower and Society6 online shops so please stay tuned!!

Happy Baking from Patricia
Follow on Bloglovin

Post a Comment