28 January 2014

An Apology to the People of Eccles...

Who watched Sport Relief Bake Off?
It was great to have Bake Off back on our screens, if only for a few nights and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the celebs getting stuck in!
Like them, I had never made eccles cakes before and after seeing the delicious (if what slightly misshapen!) ones on the Bake Off I thought I ought to give them a go!
I've made puff pastry before- which is well worth the effort if you have time, but this recipe uses rough puff which is a little easier and less time-consuming.
Mine don't quite follow the original traditional recipe as I didn't have all the ingredients in the cupboard and aren't quite the right shape so I too make an apology to the people of Eccles!
They are delicious still warm served with a little double cream!


Also if you're in the Cotswolds region the first week of February, make sure to check out BITE festival. It's a food festival in the North Cotswolds and the programme looks amazing- you have the chance to taste the delicious cooking and patisserie skills of some really big names in some beautiful rural locations as well as taking part in really creative foodie events.  Unfortunately I can't make it this year but would have loved to attend the Afternoon Tea with Claire Clarke MBE! So make sure to get your tickets soon as they are going fast! I've only got a few more days at uni and then I'm heading down to London for a few weeks for some very exciting work so I'll keep you updated!



Ingredients:

For the pastry:
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
200g chilled butter, cubed
1/2 lemon, juice only

For the filling:
115g currants
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2tsp  lemon juice
Small knob of unsalted butter
30g sultanas
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4tsp ground ginger
1 lemon, zest only

1 egg white
A little caster sugar


Method:

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix.  Add in the chilled, cubed butter (I use unsalted) and cover the butter in the flour with a large metal spoon. (Be careful to keep the butter in clear lumps.)



Then mix 180ml chilled water and the lemon juice together and gradually pour it into the flour and butter. Using a round-tipped knife, cut across the bowl, turning as you go to chop the butter into the flour. Don't worry if the mixtures looks very wet and gloopy- it's meant to be, so just keep working with it until it starts to form together into a very soft dough.

Then using a dough scraper, quickly turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and quickly shape it with your hands into a very rough rectangle shape! You may have to sprinkle the dough and your hands with a good dusting of flour to be able to handle it! You're trying to get the dough into a rough 30 x 20cm rectangle.

Then with the rectangle vertically in front of you, fold the bottom third of the pastry up onto the middle third and the top third down onto the other thirds. I know this sounds a bit confusing but just stick with it!- it will be worth it!

Then rotate the pastry a quarter turn, roll out slightly into the rectangle and repeat the folding.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile make the filling:



Soak the sultanas and currants in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. You could also add a little dash of sherry if you want your filling to have a bit of a kick!

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then stir in all the other filling ingredients including the soaked currants and sultanas.

Once thoroughly mixed, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and roll into the original narrow rectangle and repeat the folding, the turn and the rest in the fridge as before. Do this three times in total. (Throughout the process make sure you keep the rolling pin and the work surface well floured.) Once you have finished the folding and rolling stages you should still be able to see, if only faintly, the lumps of butter in the pastry- this is what gives it that lovely flaky structure.

To assemble the eccles cakes, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Roll the pastry out to the thickness of about 3mm and cut out 6 big circles. Lay these circles out on a plate and wrap in cling film before chilling in the fridge again for another 10 minutes.

Then lay these circle out on the floured work surface and place a large teaspoon of filling in the middle of each one. Pull the edge of the pastry rounds around and over the filling and then pinch together to seal. Turn each one over so that the seal is underneath and you are left with a little round patty full of the fruit mixture. Repeat for the rest of the pastry rounds and then place them all on a lined baking tray, Flatten slightly with a rolling pin so that you can just see the fruit showing through the pastry.



Beat the egg white with a fork in a small bowl for 2-3 minutes until frothy. Brush over the tops of the eccles cakes and then sprinkle with a little caster sugar.

With a sharp knife, make three of the traditional small diagonal cuts on top of each cake and then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until gold brown and the pastry loved and puffed up.




Adapted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/eccles_cakes_75687












7 comments:

  1. Thanks for following me on Twitter. The Eccles Cakes look fabulous and not at all misshapen. Well done on making your own pastry too.

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  2. I absolutely love these, mmmm definitely going to try that recipe, looks like it works wonders!xx

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  3. Katie those look delicious, don't think you owe anyone an apology!
    I don't think I've ever had eccles cake. It looks so so yummy.

    {Teffy's Perks} X

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  4. Oooh they look ever so moreish :)
    I can't wait to hear all about your upcoming adventures in London, this is very exciting indeed!
    x x
    {The Lobster & Me}

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  5. Those look like perfect Eccles cakes - very professional and very delicious!

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  6. Oh wow. These look heavenly. I'm from near Eccles originally so I grew up eating these and I'm certainly not offended haha. x
    Heroine In Heels

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  7. Unfortunately I missed the Sport Relief Bake Off and kept meaning to watch it back on demand but haven't got round to it yet... these look so perfect and enticing. yum!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's really appreciated and lovely to hear some feedback. Katie x