More pie than cake, this classic English treat is named after a town in the north-west. The flaky pastry that encases the currant filling is traditionally made with lard, but ready-made puff pastry is a fine, and less fiddly, shortcut. An Eccles cake is particularly good served with cheese, as at the acclaimed London restaurant St John, where it’s paired with a sharp, mature Lancashire.
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted
- 200 g (1¼ cups) currants
- 110 g (½ cup) brown sugar, plus extra, to sprinkle
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 x 375 g packets ready-rolled frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 200°C and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Combine butter, currants, sugar, spices and lemon zest in a bowl.
Using a 9cm-round cutter, cut pastry to make 14 rounds. Fill each round with 2 tsp of currant mixture, then gather edges of pastry to enclose filling and pinch edges together to seal. Turn cake over so seal is at the bottom, and place on lined baking trays. Very gently press down on the cakes so they flatten slightly. Make three small slashes in the top of each cake, then brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with extra brown sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot with a cup of tea, or serve at room temperature as part of a cheese board.
Photography Chris Chen (Food), Annabelle Moeller (The Flour Station) Getty Images, 4corners Images. Food Preparation Phoebe Wood. Styling Jerrie-Joy Redman Lloyd.