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Eccles Cakes

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These spicy little flaky pastry currant cakes are from the town of Eccles, just outside Manchester, and are very easy to make.


Flaky Pastry

  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 175g (6oz) butter
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons cold water

The Filling

  • 50g (2oz) butter, softened
  • 50g (2oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 50g (2oz) mixed candied peel, chopped
  • 100g (4oz) currants

To Finish

  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Caster sugar


The Flaky Pastry1

  1. Measure the flour into a bowl.

  2. Divide the butter into four equal portions and rub a quarter of it into the flour, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  3. Add the lemon juice and water to the flour and mix with a round bladed knife to form a soft dough.

  4. On a lightly-floured work surface, gently knead the dough until it's smooth.

  5. Roll it out into an oblong three times as long as it is wide.

  6. Dot a second quarter of the butter in small pieces over the top two-thirds of the pastry.

  7. Fold the bottom third up over the middle third, and the top third down, then seal the edges well with the edge of your hand.

  8. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  9. Follow instructions 5 - 8 again for the third quarter.

  10. Repeat again for the last quarter of butter.

  11. Wrap the pastry in cling film again and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

The Filling

  • Mix the butter, sugar, spice, mixed peel and currants together.

Ready to Roll

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C, 425°F or Gas Mark 7.

  2. Roll out the pastry thinly.

  3. Cut into circles about 15cm in diameter (use a saucer as a guide).

  4. Place a good teaspoon of the filling into the centre of each circle.

  5. Dampen the pastry edges with water and then draw together to enclose the filling.

  6. Turn the pastry over and flatten gently with a rolling pin so the currants just show through.

  7. Re-shape into a circle with the hands if necessary.

  8. Make three small cuts in the top of each cake, brush with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with caster sugar.

  9. Place on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10 - 15 minutes until golden.

  10. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before lifting them on to a wire rack to cool completely.

And finally...

Eat them before anyone else does.

1If you are a lazy cook, buy ready made puff pastry. Remember to roll it out very thinly otherwise it will be too thick when cooked.

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