Monday, June 06, 2011

Daily rounds no more: Eccles Cakes

At breakfast, we all have our habits. Despite the pleasure to find our favorite products every day, I remain convinced that messing up these habits is the best way to never get bored. I am far from having tried everything on morning delicacies, but I can say that Eccles Cakes are no more part of the list. 

I tasted these cakes during my stay in England but I never cooked them before. So when I found an interesting recipe, I thought I should. I'm not disappointed. I loved the crispness of the eccles cakes I bought, but I found them too buttery. I do not mind using butter in recipes. To be honest, it brings a softness to cakes that makes them even more delicious. But I can't stand the taste or the smell. Don't ever offer me butter on toast. Same goes with cream and milk, because they are just different forms of the same thing maybe, but I have to go beyond that when I cook. This recipe, despite the amount of butter (but hey, that's 500g of flour so it's fine), is not too greasy. The biscuit topping is crisp and melting, not to mention the slight whiskey after taste that goes perfectly with the intensity of raisins. So if you want to change your habits every now and then, go for it, and if there are too many, freeze them. Hot, they are even better. 

Recipe for about 18 Eccles Cakes

for the filling: 
250g black raisins 
80g butter 
90g brown sugar 
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger 
2 teaspoons of spices for gingerbread 
zest of 1 lemon 
1 dash of whiskey 

for dough: 
500g flour 
1 pinch salt 
240g butter 

Let's start with the dough. In a bowl, sift flour and salt, then add the butter into small pieces. Mix with your fingers until the mixture is sandy then gradually add 25cl of water. Mix until the dough gets homogene and forms a ball. 
Spread the dough into a rectangle of 40cm x 15cm and fold it in three. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. 

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, add all ingredients and melt over medium heat, stirring regularly. When the butter has melted, remove from heat and let cool. 
Preheat oven to 200 ° C. 

Cut the dough into three. Lower the first to 5mm thickness and shape into disks using a cookie cutter of 10cm diameter. I tend just to refine the edges with my fingers so the dough is not too thick when you fold it. 
Spread 1 tablespoon filling and fold over each small ball, taking care not to let anything escape. Continue with the other two pieces of dough (I leave them in the fridge until I use them, that way the dough stays firm). 

Put ballotins upside-down (folded part down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Draw a star with a knife without piercing the surface and brush the dough with an egg yolk. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 12/15mn. They should be golden and crispy. 

These cakes will keep several days in a box without problem. The grapes keep soft thanks to the crispy dough.

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