St John's eccles cakes by Fergus Henderson

11 September 2006
St John's eccles cakes by Fergus Henderson


(makes twelve)

For the pastry
500g unsalted butter
500g strong white flour
Pinch of sea salt
250ml water

For the filling
50g unsalted butter
110g dark brown sugar
220g currants
1tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground nutmeg

For the glaze 3 egg whites, beaten
Caster sugar


To make the puff pastry, mix 125g butter with the flour and salt, add the water and mix to a firm paste. Pat into a square and wrap in clingfilm. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once rested, roll the paste into a rectangle about 8mm thick then, between sheets of greaseproof paper, beat 375g butter into a rectangle slightly smaller than half the paste rectangle.

Lay the butter on the paste, leaving a space at the end. Fold the unbuttered half over the butter and fold the edges over to make a parcel. Pat square, wrap in clingfilm and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Roll out into a rectangle in the opposite direction to the initial major fold. When the pastry is about 1cm thick fold both ends in, one on top of the other, pat square and allow to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Repeat twice more and return to the fridge for one hour.

For the filling, melt the butter and sugar together, add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Leave to cool.

To assemble the cakes, roll out the puff pastry to 8mm thick and cut into 12 x 9cm circles. Spoon the filling on to half of the circles and place the remaining circles on top. Pinch the edges together, press gently to flatten and slash each top three times. Brush the tops with egg white and dip into the sugar. Bake in a hot to medium oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Lancashire cheese.

Fergus Henderson

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