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I am going to review Thomas's the Bakers eccles cakes. Now I am not sure if this is just a chain of bakers in Yorkshire and the North East as I can't seem to find a website to tell me any more about the company. For those of you in Yorkshire there are several in around the York area and Thirsk Northallerton.
Now I haven't had eccles cakes for years but last week when i was getting some bread at Thomas's I saw the Eccles cakes were on special offer 3 for £1.20 These had just come out of the oven so I thought why not give these a try. Since then I have been back for two other batches, telling myself they are for my son who loves the currants in them!
For those of you who don't know what an eccles cake are they a flat round cake of sweetened pastry (Most commonly puff pastry) filled with dried fruit
These cakes are about 10cm in diameter and 3 cm deep the outer pastry is a puff pastry with 3 lines cut across the top. The top is also covered in caster sugar that has been baked in the oven. The inside of the eccles cakes is filled to the brim with juicy currants.
Now after gobbling the first batch without thinking about this review on my next batch i took a few minutes to eat this and jot down my observations.
I cut the eccles cake in Half as I did so the puff pastry flaked in a very pleasing way and several currants fell out in a sticky heap on the plate.
The smell of the eccles cake is that of currants stewed in sugar I cant get any hints of them being stewed in an alcohol in the way you would say a Christmas cake but the aroma is pleasant reminding me off baking at school.
The taste test the pastry is lovely,buttery, and if your not careful it will crumble down your top! There is a good blend of currants and pastry but the currants are the big player here. They are juicy sticky and sweet and clinging nicely to one another. Now in our household there are 3 of us and one of those is a 16 month old so he hasn't been able to manage to finish a full Eccles cake which has left both my husband and I to share his left overs
I originally came across these when my Mum brought them home from the butchers one day about ten years ago. Yes the butchers. These were the days when you still had a local butcher instead of everybody going to the supermarket and it was always very busy in there. Along with all the meat the butcher sold a few other random items including eccles cakes.
Eccles cakes are named after an English town called Eccles which is in Salford and they have been around since the late eighteenth century. They are little round pastry cakes which are filled with currants. You can heat them up but I always have mine cold with a glass of milk.
I have had these in two different versions. The ones my Mum bought home from the butchers all those years ago and can still be bought in the supermarkets today are called Real Lancashire Eccles cakes and costs about £1.40 for four cakes so they aren't cheap by any means. They are quite small about 6cm in diameter. The pastry is really tasty and as they state on the packaging uses real butter to make them so it is very soft and flaky and not at all dry which I hate in pastries when it's so dry you need to go and get a drink. They are a lovely colour too, a rich golden. The currants inside are fantastic, incredibly moist and really flavoursome and they aren't stingy with the fruit, they really pack it in. I really love these and though they probably aren't good for you, they are one of my favourite snacks because they're just tasty all the way through.
The other variety I have tried is one from the bakery chain Wenzels. These cost about 50p each. They were about twice the size of the Lancashire one which was nice. The pastry they use is quite different. It was dry and crispy which I am not so keen on. The fruit inside was nice, but it was not as moist as I like, nor was the flavour so evident and considering the size of the cake I felt there really could have been more filling.
So yes I love these cakes. I know they have an old-fashioned reputation but just like fairy cakes it doesn't mean they're not yummy. If you do want to try these I would certainly recommend the Lancashire Eccles Cakes. Top stuff!
It was in 1793 in Eccles, a town near Manchester when James Birch made a pastry and fruit patty to sell in his shop in Vicarage Street. It seems that he couldn't cook them quickly enough, as each batch came out of the oven they were snapped up by eager customers.
Though traditionally they are baked in the town of Eccles where they get their name from, they have gained Worldwide popularity.
It appears that there was a debate held in Parliament recently, they questioned whether the Eccles cake could officially be known as such if it was made elsewhere! When you take the state of the economy into mind it seems a little trivial to worry about the name of a cake somehow!
An original recipe for Eccles cakes consisted of apples, oranges, nutmeg, egg yolk, currants and french brandy added to a mixture of fresh gelatin and then enveloped in puff pastry and either baked or fried.
History tells us that by 1818 the Eccles cake was being exported, which in turn suggests that they have good keeping qualities.
The addition of spirits to the mincemeat could well have been the reason that they kept so well and a good reason for the Puritans wanting them banned.
The early cooking method was interesting, baked in the oven ? yes...Fried? I am just wondering how the flaky pastry faired in the frying pan, surely it wouldn`t have risen.
Eccles cakes are relatively easy to make, the introduction of frozen pastry has ensured this.
Eccles cakes recipe.
500g flaky pastry (Jus-Roll do a good one)
25g melted butter
50g candied peel
Put the sugar and the butter into a medium sized saucepan and heat it over a low heat until it is melted.
Take the pan off of the heat and add the nutmeg, candied peel and the currants.
Use a lightly floured board and roll out the flaky pastry fairly thinly, cut it into circles of 10cm diameter.
Put a small spoonful of the fruit mixture into the centre of the circle of flaky pastry.
Dampen the edges of the pastry all the way around, then draw the edges into the middle and pinch them together to seal them.
Flatten the patties with the palm of you hand and then make a small`V` shaped cut in the top.
Place the patty on a baking tray and brush with water, then sprinkle a little sugar on the top.
Bake in a hot oven 220C for 20 minutes or until they are golden on the top.
Then put them onto a rack to cool off before enjoying them.
I rather expect most of you have eaten an Eccles cake at one time or another, either a homemade one, a Bakers version or a supermarket brand.
The flaky pastry forms a crisp shield around sweet mincemeat inside. The shell of the pastry is crisp and has a crunchy sugary texture. The flaky pastry itself has lots of layers, you will almost certainly need a plate for the cake.
Eccles cakes always seem to have a lot of pastry for the amount of filling, but if they were overfilled they would burst as they cooked causing the fruit to spill out over the outer pastry shell.
When you take a look into the centre of the Eccles cake it looks pretty much like a mince pie. The only difference is that the Eccles cake fruit is drier than the mince pie mixture.
Overall the taste is super sweet and an Eccles cake is quite filling.
If I have been pastry making I make my own version of the Eccles cake, im not keen on flaky pastry, I am a shortcrust woman myself. I use up my ends of shortcrust pastry by filling them with the mincemeat mixture and cook them in the same way. I suppose mine are more like Chorley cakes.
An excellent stodgy pudding served with some custard and they also make a good teatime treat.
Traditional cake filled with currants