Some say these layered pastries should be made with flaky pastry and others prefer puff pastry. I’ve opted for puff, because it gives a more refined look. You can make your own puff pastry, if you like. Alternatively you can buy ready-prepared all-butter or a low-fat puff – both work equally well, but the all-butter puff has more natural flavour. If you’re buying puff pastry, always avoid the ready-rolled version, which I find is rolled out too thinly.
Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and then roll out the puff pastry until it is about 5mm thick. It needs to be just big enough to cut out eight circles, each 10cm across – check by holding up the cutter. When you are happy that it is rolled to the right size, use the 10cm cutter to stamp out eight puff pastry circles and arrange them on a baking sheet. Pop the pastry into the fridge to rest for at least 10–15 minutes while you make the filling.
Put the melted butter into a bowl with rest of the filling ingredients, and then mix it all together. Take the pastry from the fridge and place 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of each circle. Gather the pastry around the filling to enclose and squeeze it together, then flip it over so the top is facing upwards and gently pat it into a smooth round. Flatten a little more with the palm of your hand into an oval that’s about 7.5 x 6cm in size, and then place it onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the rounds and then put them in the fridge for 10–15 minutes to firm up.
Mix together the demerara sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle a little bit over each Eccles cake, then
Remove the cakes from the oven. I love to eat them while they are still a little warm with a cup of tea, but they are also great cold. Be super careful when you eat these warm, as the fruit filling gets silly hot in the oven. I am told that these go down very well with a nice strong cheese – I am yet to try that combination though!
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.