Monday, June 11, 2012

kbb#29: eccles cake

hello everyone! well, it's another monday. it means another post has to come! yayy! today's special is Eccles Cake. actually this is last month's KBB challenge,  the theme for last month was English baking, but i just got a chance to post it now. so sorry! but i hope you'll savor each and every bit of it. it is really worth the effort to make. :) and just hours ago, i get a chance to talk about this cake with my English teacher whose coincidentally come from England. wow, turns out English has so many varieties of pastry, difficult kinds to be exact. 

eccles cake was originally invented in england. it was made from puff pastry, filled with raisins and currants. it tastes so rich, very appropriate over a nice cup of tea. the filling itself is also flavored with spices like lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and butter. but what makes it special is the puff pastry. when you make it with delicious puff pastry, it will come out delicious as well. but if you make it with so-so puff pastry, it will also be so-so. haha. let's just say, puff pastry is the main factor here. :D and i'm glad it is.

i'm glad puff pastry plays the biggest part on this cake, because unless it isn't, i will never get a chance to try making homemade puff pastry. i've been tempted to make homemade puff pastry since a few months ago, but after knowing that it may cause huge pain in your arms regarding those rolling and rolling and rolling process, i was kind of scared and stopped to try. who knows that eventually i still have try to make it. and yes, i did feel those cramps in my arms, but to be really honest.. it is really worth the effort, nothing can beat the richness of homemade puff pastry. store-bought puff pastry may be way more practical but in terms of taste i am now in doubt. store-bought puff pastry never taste as rich as homemade. well, i guess i won't be talking too much.. you can just see the recipe below!

Eccles Cakes
makes about 50 smallish cakes filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Peel from 2 lemons 
Peel from 2 oranges 
2 cups dried currants 
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons brandy
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice 

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the spices and peels and fry until they are fragrant in the butter. 
  3. Add the fruit, brandy, and juice.
  4. Simmer for ten or fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let cool, then put in the fridge overnight to let the flavors really come together.
Puff Pastry

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
Between 1 and 1/2 cups ice water 

  1. Take three of the sticks of butter and slice them in half lengthwise and then again widthwise. Arrange them into a rectangle on a large piece of wax paper. Put another piece of wax paper on top and roll them the butter out into a 9x12-inch rectangle between the sheets of waxed paper. Chill for at least four hours.
  2. Put the four cups of flour into a food processor. Cut up the remaining stick of butter and add it, bit by bit, to the flour and pulse into dusty crumbs. Dump the butter-flour crumbs into a big bowl and add ice water gradually, stirring, just until the dough comes together. 
  3. Knead for a couple minutes until smooth. Wrap and refrigerate four hours or overnight. 
  4. Roll the dough out into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle and place the butter rectangle on top. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter and roll out to its previous size. Fold the sides of the dough up to the middle, like folding a piece of paper into thirds, then fold it again in half — like closing a book. You're working the butter into the dough in finer and finer layers; the butter if it stays cold will puff the pastry up in delicious and spectacular ways when you're finished. 
  5. Wrap this parcel well and put back in the fridge for at least an hour or two. 
  6. Take the dough out and roll the parcel out into the rectangle again, then repeat the folding process. This is working the butter into the pastry in finer and finer layers. Continue this process - rolling out, then folding. These are called turns. Do at least four turns - six or more is even better.
  7. It's very simple: the longer you let the dough rest and chill between turns, and the more turns you do, the lighter and flakier your pastry will be.  


1 egg, beaten 
Coarse sugar 

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Take a third of the the puff pastry dough from the fridge. It should be very cold and firm, but not hard. 
  3. Roll it out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch.
  4. Cut small circles - using a biscuit cutter that gave me four-inch circles. You could do larger.
  5. Put a small dollop of filling (about 1 teaspoon) in the center of each dough circle. 
  6. Fold in half, like a potsticker dumpling, and seal the edges with your fingers. 
  7. Now bring the two pointy edges up and fold them in the center, on the curved seam. Flatten out the little pouch with your fingers, and roll it into a small circle - just thin enough that the filling shows through the dough a little. Try not to let it leak out, though. Make two or three shallow slashes in the top of the finished round cake. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy. 
what happened in my kitchen?

so, it may look so scary.. but never mind, you will forget how much works you put into it after you eat it..
that's the most fun thing about cooking and baking, isn't it?!
okay, that's all for today, thanks for reading!
have a nice day, readers..

Much Love,
Monica Adriana


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