KBB #29 : Eccles Cake

eccles cake

Super delish flaky puff pastry filled with juicy dried fruit. I warn you, after making this pastry, you'll have popeye muscle :D. But believe me, it's worth it. The taste won't be the same if you use ready to use puff pastry, because it less flaky. Eccles Cakes
Makes about 50 smallish cakes Filling

Ingredients :
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Peel from 2 lemons Peel from 2 oranges
2 cups dried currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice


Directions :
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the spices and peel and fry until they are fragrant in the butter. Add the fruit, brandy, and juice. Simmer for ten or fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool, then put in the fridge overnight to let the flavors really meld.

Puff Pastry
Ingredients :
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
Between 1 and 1/2 cups ice water

Directions :
1. Take three of the sticks of butter and slice them in half lengthwise and then again widthwise.

2. Arrange them into a rectangle on a large piece of wax paper. Put another piece of wax paper on top and roll them the butter out into a 9x12-inch rectangle between the sheets of waxed paper. Chill for at least four hours.

3. Put the four cups of flour into a food processor.

4. Cut up the remaining stick of butter and add it, bit by bit, to the flour and pulse into dusty crumbs.

5. Dump the butter-flour crumbs into a big bowl and add ice water gradually, stirring, just until the dough comes together. Knead for a couple minutes until smooth. Wrap and refrigerate four hours or overnight.

6. Roll the dough out into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle and place the butter rectangle on top. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter and roll out to its previous size. Fold the sides of the dough up to the middle, like folding a piece of paper into thirds, then fold it again in half — like closing a book. You're working the butter into the dough in finer and finer layers; the butter if it stays cold will puff the pastry up in delicious and spectacular ways when you're finished. Wrap this parcel well and put back in the fridge for at least an hour or two.

7. Take the dough out and roll the parcel out into the rectangle again, then repeat the folding process. This is working the butter into the pastry in finer and finer layers. Continue this process - rolling out, then folding. These are called turns. Do at least four turns - six or more is even better. It's very simple: the longer you let the dough rest and chill between turns, and the more turns you do, the lighter and flakier your pastry will be. I did five turns over the course of about 8 hours, and mine was fine - but if I was doing some other kind of pastry I would definitely let it sit overnight at least once.

 eccles Collage

Assembly :
1. 1 egg, beaten.

2. Coarse sugar

3. Heat the oven to 375°F.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Take a third of the the puff pastry dough from the fridge. It should be very cold and firm, but not hard. Roll it out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Cut small circles - I used a biscuit cutter that gave me four-inch circles. You could do larger, but I wanted a lot of individual pastries.

6. Put a small dollop of filling (about 1 teaspoon) in the center of each dough circle. Fold in half, like a potsticker dumpling, and seal the edges with your fingers. Now bring the two pointy edges up and fold them in the center, on the curved seam. Flatten out the little pouch with your fingers, and roll it into a small circle - just thin enough that the filling shows through the dough a little. Try not to let it leak out, though. Make two or three shallow slashes in the top of the finished round cake. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar. (Note: I think that my pastry dough was pretty warm by this point, from all the handling and rolling. I didn't try this at the time, but in the future I think I would put the finished, unbaked pans of cakes in the fridge or freezer to let them chill again - maybe for an hour. This would make a higher, lighter pastry.)

7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy. Try not to eat one immediately - the hot raisin filling will scorch your mouth - believe me, I know. These are amazingly good even a few days later.

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