Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
I Will Make Mincemeat Out Of You!
Member Name: Emmald
Advantages: A good old fashioned cake
Disadvantages: High in calories
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.
Summary: A good old fashioned cake for a treat