Monday, September 10

Eccles Cakes with Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire Cheese

An absolute British classic, I ate this recently at Sam's deli in Bath ( and very nice it was too. Paired with a nice artisan cheese like Mrs Kirkham's (, this would make a great alternative to a cheese board at the end of a meal. The recipe makes 8 small cakes but you can make more and freeze them before cooking for future use.

Pastry Ingredients:
Butter - 125g
Plain Flour - 125g
Salt - a good pinch
Egg wash
Demerara sugar - to dust

Filling Ingredients:
300g mix of golden raisins, sultanas and standard raisins
50g Mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange
Demerara sugar - 75g
Cinnamon - 1 tsp
Nutmeg - a good grating

First make the pastry - a sort of rough puff. Mix the butter roughly into the flour along with the salt leaving some lumps. Add a little water until you achieve a sticky pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill until hard. Unwrap and on a well floured board, roll out to a 5mm thick rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough in, then fold the top third of the dough down so the edges of the folded dough meet. Then, fold this rectangle in half the opposite way - left to right - so that the edges touch. Roll out again and repeat, then wrap and chill again.

Now make the filling. Melt the butter and sugar and cook until a sort of caramel is achieved. Add the orange zest and spices and cook for another minute or so. Add the fruit, mix well then chill. 

Roll out your pastry again to the thickness of a penny and using a 12cm cutter, cut out as many circles as you can get. You can ball up the dough offcuts once and re-roll to get more circles cut. Holding the pastry in the palm of one hand, fill with a tbsp of fruit filling then bring the edges of the pastry up to seal the filling inside. Use a little water to moisten the edges to make them stick. Flip the cake over on a greased baking sheet so the join is underneath. Repeat for the other eccles cakes. 

Slash the tops of the cakes twice so they open up during cooking (see the photo), egg wash, dust with demerara and bake at 200c for 20 mins of so until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack and serve warm with a big wedge of cheese.

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