Saturday, March 15, 2008

Scooping the Rewards

To make this recipe easier, I suggest totting up the amounts of specified fruits then using that weight of mixed dried fruit - so you only have to weigh them once. Sometimes candied peel is included in bags of mixed dried fruit, so you could include that weight as well. To save having any pastry scraps left over, make the cakes in squares or triangles instead of rounds.
Eccles Cakes:
8 oz (225g) puff pastry
2 oz (50g) sultanas
2 oz (50g) candied peel
bare half tsp mixed spice
2 oz (50g) currants
2 oz (50g) margarine
2 oz (50g) sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
caster sugar, water or egg white to glaze
Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into large, saucershape rounds. Mix together all the remaining ingredients except those needed for glazing, and put spoonfuls of the mixture into the centre of each round, then brush the edges of the pastry with water, pick them up and bring them to the centre above the fruit and pinch them together to make a seal. Turn each upside down and flatten with a rolling pin. Make 2 or 3 slashes on the top, brush with water or egg white, and sprinkle over some sugar. Bake at 220C, 425F, gas 7 for about 20 minutes. Tent with foil after 15 minutes if the cakes are beginning to get too brown. Cool on a cake airer.
Banbury cakes: as the above but add 2 oz cake crumbs or crumbled macaroon biscuits, glaze with milk and sugar.
Tip: as this is an old recipe, it does not state how to treat the margarine. Personally I would put all the ingredients into a pan, heat until the marg. has melted, then leave it to cool. The juice will plump up the fruit and the margarine will be well blended in.