Thursday, March 10, 2011

ECCLES CAKES & A POIROT TISANE

The little Belgian with the egg-shaped head who is always in full command of his little grey cells, particularly when it comes to solving a mystery was fond of his daily tisane.  In fact, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot often accounts this as being the reason why his "little grey cells" are superior to others.  My guess is, judging by his rotund frame, that he liked his sweets equally as well, and Londoner that he eventually became, he undoubtedly indulged in the Eccles Cakes available at Fortnum & Mason.  
An Eccles cake, named for the borough of Greater Manchester in England, is a small, round cake filled with raisins, currants, and candied orange peel wrapped in a delicate puff pastry and topped with sugar.  You don't have to go to London to try one, as they can easily be made at home.  I couldn't find orange peel, so made that as well, using what I needed for the cakes, and dipping the rest in chocolate (and boy was that good!).  The filling can be made the day ahead, and the cakes can be rather quickly assembled and baked up just in time for afternoon tea.

This recipe is one I've been using for years.  It's from Bon Appetit's November 2002 issue, and is, thus far, the best one I've found for both taste and authenticity.

Eccles Cakes


 3/4 cup dried currants
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix first 8 ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out four 6-inch-diameter rounds. Place filling on half of each round, dividing equally. Brush edges of rounds with beaten egg. Fold pastry over filling, creating semicircle and enclosing filling completely. Press edges firmly to seal. Transfer to heavy large baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pastries until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to rack and cool pastries 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, carefully remove pastries from baking sheet.  Cool. 









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16 comments:

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

You got a lovely blog..nice pics ..good writeups :)

Have a lovely day ahead!

Sanghamitra
http://rainbow-thecoloursofindia.blogspot.com

Priya Sreeram said...

o my, it looks yumm !

Mary said...

These really do sound perfect. I know I'd love to have one with my coffee. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Mary said...

Hi Pattie, Thanks for visiting my blog! The plates say "Colonial Hearth" by Royal on the back. I also used them with a Christmas table scape 2 years ago. I found them when I was clearing out my mothers estate in her garage. Have a nice weekend! Mary :O)

Karen the Savvy Suburbanite said...

You must put the pesto bug in his ear, it is worth it! And I love Bon Appetits recipes, this pastry looks tasty!

Phyllis said...

I adored your comments on my St. Patrick's tablescape......I will be more than happy to run over and help you....IF you will help me cook. You are such a talented lady with your cooking and recipes! Today's recipe sounds so decicious that I will be trying it.....thanks!!

Carol said...

Your pictures are fantastic, the cakes look divine! What a great idea for the orange. I would love both with the coffee I am having now!

TheBookGirl said...

This recipe sounds wonderful; I have not been very successful working with puff pastry sheets, but I like the sound of this recipe so much, I am tempted to give it a try :)

Heather said...

A lovely pairing of biscuit, tea, and china. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Miriam said...

Oh! How delicious! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Joy said...

Looks delicious! Love the Poirot connection.

Beth F said...

Ohhhh, one of things I miss about London is F&M -- I used to go there about once a week just to look around (and Harrod's too). These sound so yummy (and dark chocolate dipped orange peel is one of my favorites).

I just just love the Poirot tie-in too. Oh and your photos are fabulous.

Chinoiseries said...

I've recently started reading Agatha Christie again, and your eccles cake is just perfect accompaniment! *bookmarking* Thanks for posting the recipe :)

Tess said...

Your eccles cakes look wonderful and what a great idea to dip them in chocolate (what isn't better with chocolate?) I love Poirot...and have watched every episode I can!

Your setting is beautiful too...love the pattern of that cup!

shopannies said...

oh my that looks so good and sweet and love the red in the cup and saucer very pretty come visit me at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Pattie...

Mmmm...your Eccles cakes look and sounds delicious, my friend! I must admit that I have never had one but I know that I would love them...what's not to love? Hehe! Thank you for sharing this lovely post and recipe with us for the Sunday Favorites repost party this week, my friend! I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Warmest wishes,
Chari