Eccles cakes are a timeless classic, and taste even better when made totally from scratch. And we guarantee that these little bites of heaven are worth that little extra effort!
Homemade Rough Puff Pastry Eccles Cakes
Makes 18-20 eccles cakes | Preparation time 30 mins plus refrigeration (preferably overnight for the pastry) | Baking time 15 mins
For the pastry:
- 300g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 250g butter, cold and cut into chunks approx. 1cm square
- 125 ml very cold water, preferably icy
For the filling:
- 50g melted butter
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 200g dried fruit (currants and mixed peel work well
- because they are small)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- A little milk to brush the tops
- A little caster sugar to sprinkle on the tops
- Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Put the butter lumps in, then with two knives "cut" into the flour mix until the lumps are smaller, approx. half the size they started.
- Pour in the cold water and using a wooden spoon stir it all together. Remove the dough from your bowl and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat the sides and surface of the dough so you have a rectangle shape that has a depth of approx. 2cm.
- Roll out the dough (ensuring your rolling pin and top of the dough has a light dusting of flour) keep a really neat rectangle shape until it measures approx. 30cmx20cm (with one of the shorter sides facing you). Fold up the bottom third (the one nearest you), then the top third down. Gently press down with your rolling pin on the top, then turn it a quarter turn so that the seamed side is now on your left.
- Repeat rolling out to a rectangle, folding and turning. Then do it again - three times in total. Wrap in clingfilm and place the dough in a bag in the fridge overnight. If you find the butter gets very soft while you are rolling out and folding then wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 mins then continue. It is really important to keep the butter as chilled as possible to achieve the layers of pastry.
- To make the filling, first melt the butter in a pan. Once melted, add the other filling ingredients and stir well until combined. Set to one side until ready to bake.
- When your pastry has chilled overnight and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 7. Grease and line two baking trays. It is easier to work with half the dough at a time, so cut the block in half and leave one half in the fridge.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out until approx. 3mm in thickness. Use an 8cm round cutter and cut as many rounds as you can. Fill each with a teaspoon of filling mixture.
- Have a small bowl of water nearby and run a damp finger around the circumference of each round. Fold over to form a semi circle then pinch the outer edges into the centre too, gently so they all stick together. Lay it flat with the seam underneath. Press gently down to flatten slightly and use your hands around the sides to maintain a round shape. Place on the baking tray.
- Make three slashes across the top with the tip of a sharp knife. Then brush with a little milk and sprinkle on some caster sugar. Place in the fridge for approx. 20 mins before baking for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve sprinkled with a little more caster sugar.
* Although this recipe looks long, it really isn’t complicated and makes a delicious pastry. Make sure you read through all the instructions before you start as there are a few times that a fridge rest is vital to achieving that amazing flaky texture. You cannot re-roll this pastry as you would lose the layered texture. So we brushed the left over pieces with a little beaten egg and dipped them in grated Parmesan and baked them until golden to make random shaped cheese straws!