Revisiting a charming post from 2011 for Throwback Thursday. Join me for some Eccles Cakes, a puzzling mystery, and a cup of tea.
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. puzzling mystery, and a cup of 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.
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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