Friday, 12 October 2012

Sturdy Stuffy Eccles Cakes.

When treats are required to withstand a journey with the Post Man, I mean need to think sturdy; daintywainty cupcuakes will not do here. And if you’ve ever gone down this thinking road (this particular road I mean, not the ‘thinking in general’ one) then you might have reached the same conclusion as me; that sturdy food = the food of sturdy people. have Cornish miners eating pasties on one side and boys in top hats getting caned, eating Eton Mess on the other.

So naturally when I received a request for a posted package of baked goods the other day my mind went to those sturdy northern folk (I had Dad in my head, obvs) and what they might take down their particular mines...or mills probs, those dark satanic ones. Eccles Cakes of coooourse.

Eccles Cakes could be nothing but northern (we’re talking northern English here folks, which is confusing because from where I’m sitting that looks kinda like downwards but heyho) with their rocky shape and bolstering sweet filling. And...I just found out that you’re meant to eat them with a wedge of cheese...and the only folk I've ever know to pair cake with cheese have been northern folk (Dad), but my goodness it makes sense doesn't it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shunning posh, non-sturdy food, ohnono. I’ll dunk asparagus into a soft boiled egg with as much glee as the next south-westerly gal...but that would noooot look pretty after a shove through the letter box. With Love and Cake.

Eccles Cakes.
From Delia's Complete Cookery Course.

A few notes:
  • Doooooo feel free to use shop bought puff pastry...though northern people might judge you (jokes....they definitely won't).
  • You can make these as big or as little as you want, these are more bite sized than the big fist sized ones you usually see. just make sure you use a cutter a LOT bigger than you want the finished cake and adjust the cooking time accordingly. I used a cutter about 12cm across which gave cakes about 6cm across and needed 15 minutes.
Makes 10-20
You will need 

A large baking sheet, greased

1xquantity or homemade flaky pastry, made using 225g plain flour and 175g butter with exactly the same method

For the filling
75g butter
150g caster sugar
150g currants
50g candied peel
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

To glaze
demerara or granulated sugar

  • When you've got you're pastry all ready and chilled, preheat the oven to 220°c.
  • To make the fillinf simply melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in all the other ingredients.
  • Roll the pastry out thinly; to about 3mm thick, and cut out rounds with a cutter or upturned glass (see notes re size).
  • Into the centre of each round, place a teaspoon of filling.
  • Brush water around the outside of the round and to seal, bring one side of the circle to the centre and the opposite side to meet it. Pinch them together to.
  • Keep doing this with the edges that are left, so you have a much smaller disc.
  • Place each sealed disc, the other way up so the sealed side is the bottom, onto your baking sheet.
  • Press each one down so it flattens and gets a bit wider.
  • Make 3 slashed in the top of each disc, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes until golden and puffy.
  • Remove from the baking sheet as soon as poss so they don't stick as the sugar sets and wait a biiiit before you tuck in, so the sugar doesn't stick to your tongue. But not tooooo long. Do the cheese thing if you fancy too.

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