Eccles Cakes are a bit of an enigma. Nobody actually knows their true origins except that they have been sold in a town called Eccles(Greater Manchester) since 1793. They were traditionally made with flaky pastry, I believe a more modern interpretation lends itself to puff though. These are found in many shops today but if you follow the link they don’t look particularly appestising. They are usually made with currants and hence have adopted a nickname of dead fly cakes. I wanted to make these so that they came alive and one just wasn’t enough.
There is a strange tradition in some parts of Northern Britain that we eat Fruit Cake with cheese. This sounds quite odd but it gave me a theme to go with these cakes. They are full of dried fruit and so are basically a chutney in pastry, so I wanted to serve a cheese “spread” as an accompaniment in a role reversal of the cheese and chutney. I’ve also made these cakes with raisins rather than currants as they are juicier. These are fine cold, but if you can make them fresh and eat them warm all the better.
- 500g Sheet, ready rolled. Puff Pastry
- 150g Raisins
- 75g Butter
- 125g Caster Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 4g Ground Allspice
- Egg Wash
- 100g Stilton( Or any strong cheese)
- 50g Cream Cheese
- 75g Butter
- 2 Tbsp Port
- 1/2 tsp Sherry Vinegar
- Add the sugar and butter in a pan and melt until it bubbles. Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins, vinegar and allspice. Let cool. Once the mixture is cooled roll into balls no bigger than a golf ball. Put these back on a plate and place in the freezer to set.(45mins)
- Cut out 16-9cm circles from the puff pastry. Roll each ball in a pastry circle and press the joins back together. Once you have used up all the pastry/mixture put these back in the freezer. They can then be cooked from frozen at your leisure.
- When you come to cook them, heat the oven to 200°c, brush each ball with egg wash and make three slits in the top. Bake for 20-25mins.
- For the potted stilton, blend all of the ingredients together. Place back into ramekins and set in the fridge.
- Remove the potted stilton from the fridge for 10mins before serving.