Eccles Cakes Recipe

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 3 1/3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
  • 11 ounces (315g) very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup (60g) cold lard (optional, for extra flakiness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) ice-cold water, plus more if needed

For the filling:

  • 1 cup (150g) dried currants
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) finely chopped candied mixed peel (lemon and orange)
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice (or ground allspice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

Other:

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Demerara sugar or coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Instructions

Make the pastry:

  • Combine dry ingredients: Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl.
  • Cut in fat: Cut in the butter and lard (if using) using a pastry blender, your fingertips, or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces.
  • Add water: Gradually add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough just comes together. Don’t overwork!
  • Chill: Divide the dough in half, shape into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a few days.

Make the filling:

  • Combine ingredients: In a medium bowl, stir together currants, brown sugar, candied peel, melted butter, spices, and rum (if using).
  • Chill: Let the filling mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer to soften and allow the flavors to meld. You can make this in advance and refrigerate it.

Assemble the Eccles cakes:

  • Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Cut out circles: Use a 5-inch saucer or cutter to cut circles of dough.
  • Add filling: Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle.
  • Seal: Brush edges of the dough with water. Fold dough over the filling like a half-moon and pinch the edges tightly to seal.
  • Flatten and slash: Gently flatten each cake slightly with your hand. Make three slashes on the top of each cake with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
  • Egg wash and sugar: Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle generously with demerara sugar.
  • Repeat: Do the same for the remaining dough and filling.

Bake:

  • Bake: Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed.
  • Cool: Let the Eccles cakes cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips:

  • Use cold ingredients: Very cold butter and water are essential for a flaky pastry.
  • Don’t overwork the dough: Handle it minimally to avoid a tough pastry.
  • Add-ins: For extra flavor, add finely chopped crystallized ginger or 1 tablespoon of brandy instead of rum.

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