orange cardamom eccles cakes

I was so happy when Lina of Lin’s Recipes, and commenced her return to blogging with a recipe challenge. Her previous challenges have been plenty of fun, a chance to learn, and an exciting way to bring other food bloggers together. This challenge is being hosted by Freda of Aromatic Essence!

For this challenge I made Eccles cakes, little pastries stuffed with currants, excitingly something I had wanted to try making for a while.The history of Eccles cakes, as was spelled out from a couple of sources (the Salford government, Salford tourism, and a purveyor of Eccles cakes) goes that it picked up its name in the town of Eccles, though the exact origin of the original recipe is more debatable. At one point it was apparently banned (during Cromwell’s time), but now happily retains the charm of an old classic pastry.For this version I supplemented the currants (obviously soaked in rum) with candied orange peel and plenty of ground cardamom. I think the pastries would be delicious with any sort of dried fruit–maybe apricots–and even nuts–apricot and walnut?–and various spices, such as nutmeg and allspice I saw in another variation. The filling on its own was quite glorious, a sludge of squidgy dried fruit and candied peel held together by buttery and sugary mass.Then what was especially charming about these cakes was the leaky filling, which created a mass of dark sugary shards on the pan and caramel-glossed bottoms. Do try to seal a bit better than me to keep some of that buttery and sugary mixture inside the pastries, but a bit of leakage does seem to have its benefits!

I just made the usual semi-rough puff pastry, but any sort of pie crust or puff pastry would do the trick.Thanks to Lina for the challenge…and sorry for such a late submission as well! There are other exciting recipes that have been linked up, which can be checked out hereorange cardamom eccles cakes

Makes 12 Eccles cakes. Adapted from Delia Smith and BBC Good Food

candied orange

1 navel orange

10 green cardamom pods

sugar

Cut the peel from the orange, including the rind and pith. Slice and then cut crosswise into small pieces. Place in a small saucepan and add enough water to generously cover. Add the cardamom pods, cracking them open, and a scoop of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until pith is translucent and tender. Drain, remove cardamom pods, and set aside.

 

spelt pastry

190 g cold butter

100 g spelt flour

175 g a.p. flour

1/2 tsp salt

50-100 mL cold water

Cut the butter into slices. Mix together the flours and salt on the counter. Place the butter on top and turn to coat. Press into the flour in thinner flakes. Fold the flour mixture over onto itself and continue to flatten the butter into thinner flakes. Make a well in the centre and add water, mixing until a cohesive dough is formed. Wrap and chill completely.

 

filling & assembly

150 g dried currants

4 capfuls dark rum, divided

33 g butter

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch salt

100 g brown sugar

Place the dried currants in a bowl with 2 capfuls of rum and enough boiling water to barely cover. Allow to sit and soak until plumped–as mine were quite dried out, I became impatient and then simmered them a bit on the stovetop. Drain.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the spices and cook briefly until fragrant, then add the remaining two caps of dark rum and simmer to boil off the alcohol. Mix in the salt, brown sugar, currants, and 3/4 of the orange peel. Set aside and let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Thinly roll out the pastry, working with one half at a time. Cut out 12-cm diametre circles. Gather up the scraps and re-roll. In total, I ended up with 12 rounds, but probably could have ended up with 14 had I rolled the pastry a bit thinner.

Place 1 generously heaping tbsp on top of each round. Bring up the edges and pinch together, then flip over so the seam is on the bottom. Patting the cake in one’s hands, shape into a fairly flat circle. Place on a baking pan. Cut 2-3 slits into the top of each cake.

Cover and chill briefly to ensure the pastry is cold before baking. Brush each with a bit of egg white and bake for 20-30 minutes or until browned on top.

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27 thoughts on “orange cardamom eccles cakes

  1. Wow! This sounds like a lot of work..You have done an amazing job!! I love leaky fillings and a crispy outer…xD..orange and cardamom sound like a great addition…They work well together!! So glad you participated!!!!! Hope your studies are going on well!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lina! I didn’t realize there would ever come a time that I would actually appreciate a leaky filling (for example, dumplings or buns)… but this time I did!
      Oh the studies are coming along 🙂 I hope yours are going well!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jenny! Cozy is the perfect way to describe these, they’re so down-to-earth and straightforwardly buttery and sweet 🙂 I’m really enjoying the spelt flour! Lili (of Lili’s Cakes) uses quite a bit of spelt flour in her recipes, so she’d be a great resource for baking with spelt!

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    1. Aww, thank you Freda! I wish I could share one with you! I’m guilty when it comes to using cardamom quite liberally and frequently…but it was so much fun to play with the filling. I’ve been imagining a prune-filled version or an apricot version, and maybe even with some nuts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first time I’ve ever tried (let alone made) an Eccles cake, so I’m glad they looked somewhat convincing! I can see why they’re so well-loved though–the flaky pastry and sweet and buttery filling is a wonderful combination. It was great to be able to give these a try. Thanks for dropping by Donald 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so impressed by the caramel shards, especially the whole pan-ful! Normally leaky buns are a bit more distressing, but not this time. And thank you so much Philip! I’m really honoured 🙂

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    1. Thank you! Gluten free baking does sound like such a challenge! I’m so lucky as it’s tough for me to imagine having to beware of gluten.
      I follow some gluten free bloggers and it’s amazing and inspirational to see how they try different things to overcome limitations of baking without gluten! For example, Nell (https://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/) posts the most delectable looking cakes and cookies. Perhaps something might catch your eye 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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