ECCLES CAKES

Preparation time:  less than 30 mins
Cooking time:  15 mins
Makes 10

Use ready-made puff pastry for easy, flaky cakes to encase the spiced, fruity filling – a real classic. Or you can make your own following the link below.

Ingredients
For the filling
• 25g block butter
• 60g dark soft brown sugar
• 75g currants (pasas de Corinto)
• 25g chopped mixed candied peel (fruta confitada)
• Grated zest of ½ large or 1 small orange (piel rallada de naranja)
• ½ tsp ground allspice (pimienta de jamaica) *see note below
• ⅛ nutmeg, freshly grated (nuez moscada)
• Cold water
For the pastry
Make your own quick flaky pastry (using 75g block margarine/butter and 110g flour), or use bought puff pastry.
For the topping
• 2 level tablespoons golden granulated sugar (azúcar moreno)

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC, then begin by making the pastry following the above link if you’re not going to use bought pastry (using only 75g block margarine/butter and 110g flour). Then leave it to rest in a polythene bag in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preparing the filling: melt the butter in a small saucepan, then take it off the heat and stir in all the other filling ingredients quite thoroughly, and leave it to cool.

Now roll out the pastry as described in quick flaky pastry to form an rectangle approximately 40cm by 16cm. Turn the rectangle length-ways in front of you and cut it into two length-ways then cut each length evenly into five 8m squares.

Arrange a heaped teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of each square, using a pastry brush dampen the edge of each square of pastry with water, then turn the corners inwards and seal them together.

Turn each Eccles cake the other way up so the seals are underneath, dust the surface with a little flour, then just shape it into a round with your hands.

Using a sharp knife make three slashes across each one and finally brush them with egg white and sprinkle with sugar then arrange then so they are evenly spread out on the lined baking sheet. Bake them on a high-ish shelf for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Store in an airtight tin.

They also freeze beautifully for up to a month.

* An aromatic spice that looks like a large, smooth peppercorn (about the size of a pea), allspice is the dried berry of the West Indian allspice tree. It’s also called Jamaican pepper or pimento and is so called because its taste is said to resemble a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. Allspice is used in both sweet and savoury dishes including mulled drinks, Christmas pudding, pickles and marinades and Jamaican jerk chicken.   A substitute for allspice is nutmeg, cinnamon and clove mixed together. You can also use ½ teaspoon cinnamon plus ½ teaspoon ground cloves.