And to the UK we go! First stop in this lil clump of countries is England!
♫♫ “Ruuuule Britania! Britania rule the waves!” ♫♫
I’ve been to England twice in my travels. Well, three times, if you count an over-night layover in London (we went to the pub across the street from our hotel and got fish n’ chips, so I’m counting it.) I have nothing but fond memories of my short times there. England has many different options of old-fashioned English baked goods to try, and the process of researching had me all nostalgic! Here have a picture of Bradford, England, where my family visited once!
I had fun making these Eccles cakes, or “Traditional Lancashire Eccles Cakes” as the recipe said, but I was a little lazy this week, and fell slightly short of doing this recipe 100% correctly. I was originally going to attempt a Battenberg Cake, which is a pink and white checked cake, covered in marzipan. But I was too slow to start preparation, and didn’t get a hold of marzipan in time (I would like to try make it on my own but again..that would require more prep than I allowed). So I settled on Eccles Cakes!
These are small, round, berry-filled pastries. They’re supposed to be filled with black currants but….the result of my lack of preparation was that I could not come across black currants in time. I remember them from when I spent a semester in college in Northern Ireland, and I really liked their flavor. But alas…America is rather settled on raisins for everything…even marketing raisins as currants. So I had to use raisins as the filling instead of black currants.
BUT one of my roommates is allergic to raisins…and I wanted her to be able to eat these things too! SO I made some with dried blueberries! So..again..not completely authentic, but I did actually really like the blueberry kind!
I also forgot to add in the orange zest when making the filling. I also didn’t have an orange, because I used the one I had to make the candied peel. So…I used lemon zest instead, because I didn’t want to walk to the store and back to get an orange.
But I think that’s the end of my shortcomings for this recipe. I did make my own candied orange peel, so I feel like that effort cancelled out one of the mistakes, right?? But…I bought some candied lemon peel instead of making it soo….Whatever!!
The basic gist of this recipe was making the dough, rolling it out, cutting it into squares, putting in the filling, wrapping the dough around the filling, shaping into chubby disks, and baking them. I feel like I’d like to try use more of a puff pastry for the dough if I ever made this again. This dough was flaky, but I think I’d like it a bit more puffy!
Here’s the link of the recipe I used >>Here<<
Lancashire Eccles Cakes
Begin by making the pastry as described in the Quick Flaky Pastry recipe and video below. Then leave it to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator 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 lengthways in front of you and cut it into two lengthways 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.
In Lancashire it’s traditional to serve Eccles cakes with creamy Lancashire cheese.