This weekend I made Eccles Cakes, a family favorite pastry. Wikipedia says they originated in Eccles (Greater Manchester), England. My family associates them with our Scottish heritage (perhaps because my grandfather loved them?) and Demoulas Market Basket supermarkets, which was the only place you could get them locally when I was growing up in Andover, Massachusetts in the 70s. By the 1908s, they stopped carrying them.
This was before the Web. Before recipe sites. Before food blogs. So I invented my own recipe using a filling based on a raisin square recipe from a magazine.
Susan’s Eccles Cakes
1 apple peeled cored and chopped (about 1 cup)
2/3 c apple juice
2 to 2-1/2 cups raisins or currants or combination
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 TBSP conrstarch
2 TBSP cold water
1 17-1/4 oz package frozen puff pastry, 2 sheets, thawed (Note: if I use raisins instead of currants in the filling I usually need 3 sheets to use up all the filling)
1 large egg (2 if using 1.5 packages of puff pastry
Granulated sugar for sprinkling
Filling – In medium saucepan, bring apple and apple juice to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until tender. Stir in currants/raisins, sugar and spices. Bring to boil, stirring often. Boil 1 minute. In small bowl mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir into fruit mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Cool to room temperature. Cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight.
Cakes – Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat egg to blend in small bowl. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll 1 pastry sheet according to package directions and cut into 3 or 4 inch rounds. I use a half-pint glass as a template to make approx. 3 inch rounds. Spoon filling into center of rounds, brush border with egg. Top with second pastry round, press and crimp edges togethr to seal. Brush with egg. Cut a couple vent holes in center, and sprinkle top with sugar. Continue rolling pastry and assembling cakes until you’ve used up all the pastry and the filling. Chill each backing sheet of cakes 15-20 minutes before baking. Bake pastry until puffed and golden brown, and sugar has melted on top about 10-15 minutes (12 is about perfect for my oven). Cool, serve at room temperature.