Eccles Cakes

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By Darren Purchese

An Eccles cake is a traditional British pastry named after the town of Eccles in Greater Manchester, England. It is a small, round pastry filled with a mixture of dried fruits mixed with sugar and spices. The filling is encased in a flaky and buttery pastry shell.

The pastry is typically golden brown in colour and has a sweet, sticky texture due to the sugar content in the filling. Eccles cakes are often served as a sweet treat, and make the prefect accompaniment to cheese. The distinctive combination of the flaky pastry and spiced fruit filling gives Eccles cakes a unique and delicious taste.

Darren presented these Eccles cakes at Tasting Australia this year in SA, they are served with a selection of cheeses from The Smelly Cheese Shop for the Bougie Brasserie event in a collaborative dinner with acclaimed chefs Scott Huggins and James Henry. South Australia is renowned for it's produce and the dried fruit used in these Eccles were exceptional. They were supplied by Singing Magpie and they really made our cakes sing!

We used a selection of dried fruits from pears, figs, apricot, citrus and strawberry leather but if you want to make these a little more traditional you can switch the dried fruits for raisins and currants, just keep the same quantity of fruit.

This pastry is delightful... flaky and with an added nuttiness from the buckwheat. There is nothing like homemade pastry.

Read our Kitchen Notes on how to curate your own stunning cheeseboard.

Time

3

hour

30

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Save

0

Portions

12
pieces

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Ingredients

Servings

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BUCKWHEAT FLAKY PASTRY

225g unsalted butter, chilled
220g buckwheat flour
120g plain flour
5g salt flakes
140 ml cold water
1tsp white vinegar

FRUIT FILLING

50g unsalted butter
110g soft light brown sugar
220g dried mixed fruit, chopped figs, nectarines, apricots, raisins & currants
½tsp ground allspice
½tsp ground nutmeg
½tsp salt flakes
½ orange, finely grated zest
1

For the pastry… Cut the butter into 1 cm (1/2 in) dice and chill in the fridge. Put the buckwheat and plain flours, plus the salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter cubes over the top. Use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly texture, with small lumps or shards of butter still visible. Make a well in the middle, and add the vinegar and then the water. Use a dough scraper or spoon to gently cut the flour into the water until you have a crumbly texture, gathering up any leaks as you do. Use your hands to gently push it all together into a rough dough, with a slightly sticky texture. Roll or press the dough out into a rectangle roughly 3 cm thick. Place the wrapped pastry into a fridge and leave to chill for an hour.

 

2

To fold the pastry… remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to sit on the bench for 15 minutes. Lightly flour the bench and unwrap the pastry. Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry into a rectangle 2 cm thick. Fold one- third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, this is a letter fold. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again, into a rectangle roughly 2–3 cm thick, then repeat the letter fold. These folds are not perfectly neat, they will though, help to layer the butter together which results in a lovely flakiness. If the dough starts to get a bit dry or floury, add a bit more water as you go. Wrap the dough and place into a fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degrees again. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle 2-3 cm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Make another letter fold and again rotate the dough 90 degrees. Roll out again to a thickness of 2-3cm and make the last letter fold. Wrap the pastry and rest in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or for up to 2 months in the freezer.

 

3

To roll the pastry… remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to sit at room temperature on the bench for 15 minutes. Lightly flour the bench and use a rolling pin to roll the pastry out into a sheet with a thickness of 1cm. Keep lifting the pastry as you roll and use extra flour for dusting to keep the pastry from sticking to the bench. Place the sheet of rolled pastry onto a sheet of baking paper and transfer to a tray. Place the tray into the fridge to chill and rest for 15 minutes.

 

4

To cut the pastry… take a 10 cm diameter round cutter and cut discs from the pastry, place them onto a tray and store covered in the fridge. Re roll the pastry scraps into another sheet and rest this in the fridge for 15 minutes before removing and cutting more discs. You should get around 12 discs from this pastry recipe.

 

5

For the filling… melt the butter and sugar together, remove from heat and grate in the zest and stir in the spices. Pour this into a bowl with the chopped dried mixed fruit and salt. Stir well to mix and leave to cool before assembly.

 

6

To assemble… lightly spray the foil containers with canola oil. Take a chilled disc of pastry and spoon around 30 g of finished filling into the centre. Bring the pastry up to seal and invert the cake with the smooth side up. Use a sharp paring knife to make three incisions into the top of the cake. Place the cake into a greased foil container and chill in the fridge.

 

7

To bake… preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the cakes from the fridge and dip the top surfaces of each cake into the egg white and then dip into the raw sugar. Place back into the foil containers and bake for 20 minutes or until golden flaky and oozing out of the top incisions. Leave to cool slightly before remoulding. Serve warm or cool with a nice cheese, something like a Wensleydale or a cheddar.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pastry… Cut the butter into 1 cm (1/2 in) dice and chill in the fridge. Put the buckwheat and plain flours, plus the salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter cubes over the top. Use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly texture, with small lumps or shards of butter still visible. Make a well in the middle, and add the vinegar and then the water. Use a dough scraper or spoon to gently cut the flour into the water until you have a crumbly texture, gathering up any leaks as you do. Use your hands to gently push it all together into a rough dough, with a slightly sticky texture. Roll or press the dough out into a rectangle roughly 3 cm thick. Place the wrapped pastry into a fridge and leave to chill for an hour.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

To fold the pastry… remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to sit on the bench for 15 minutes. Lightly flour the bench and unwrap the pastry. Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry into a rectangle 2 cm thick. Fold one- third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, this is a letter fold. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again, into a rectangle roughly 2–3 cm thick, then repeat the letter fold. These folds are not perfectly neat, they will though, help to layer the butter together which results in a lovely flakiness. If the dough starts to get a bit dry or floury, add a bit more water as you go. Wrap the dough and place into a fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degrees again. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle 2-3 cm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Make another letter fold and again rotate the dough 90 degrees. Roll out again to a thickness of 2-3cm and make the last letter fold. Wrap the pastry and rest in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or for up to 2 months in the freezer.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

To roll the pastry… remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to sit at room temperature on the bench for 15 minutes. Lightly flour the bench and use a rolling pin to roll the pastry out into a sheet with a thickness of 1cm. Keep lifting the pastry as you roll and use extra flour for dusting to keep the pastry from sticking to the bench. Place the sheet of rolled pastry onto a sheet of baking paper and transfer to a tray. Place the tray into the fridge to chill and rest for 15 minutes.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

To cut the pastry… take a 10 cm diameter round cutter and cut discs from the pastry, place them onto a tray and store covered in the fridge. Re roll the pastry scraps into another sheet and rest this in the fridge for 15 minutes before removing and cutting more discs. You should get around 12 discs from this pastry recipe.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

For the filling… melt the butter and sugar together, remove from heat and grate in the zest and stir in the spices. Pour this into a bowl with the chopped dried mixed fruit and salt. Stir well to mix and leave to cool before assembly.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

To assemble… lightly spray the foil containers with canola oil. Take a chilled disc of pastry and spoon around 30 g of finished filling into the centre. Bring the pastry up to seal and invert the cake with the smooth side up. Use a sharp paring knife to make three incisions into the top of the cake. Place the cake into a greased foil container and chill in the fridge.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

To bake… preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the cakes from the fridge and dip the top surfaces of each cake into the egg white and then dip into the raw sugar. Place back into the foil containers and bake for 20 minutes or until golden flaky and oozing out of the top incisions. Leave to cool slightly before remoulding. Serve warm or cool with a nice cheese, something like a Wensleydale or a cheddar.