From time to time there are occasions special enough to break out the fine china and bake up a tray of scrumptious treats. The impending arrival of a new baby is just that sort of opportunity, and Eccles Cakes are just the ticket for a tea-time delicacy.
Today we celebrate our friend Jen Schall, who is due to have a sweet baby girl in just a few weeks. She is the gentle, yet opinionated voice behind My Kitchen Addiction, and has been baking a little bun in the oven alongside her usual sugar cookies and coffee cakes. This little one’s arrival is highly anticipated and a few of us just wanted to surround Jen at this significant time in her life and show our support.
If we could be so fortunate as to bypass the miles that separate us all, I imagine we would gather in a sunny living room for tea and treats. We’d give Jen the comfiest chair, of course, then settle in around her – on pillows, the sofa arm, or cross-legged on the floor – to admire her taut belly, speculate over baby names, and prattle on about our own birthing experiences. (Sorry, Brian!)
Traditional English Eccles Cakes would be my contribution to the event, a crispy pastry filled with spiced currants and topped with a sprinkling of raw sugar. Read on for the recipe and for an impressive list of links from the other virtual baby shower attendees.
Eccles Cakes are named for the town of Eccles in Lancashire, England, where my father is from, so it is no surprise that he requested them from time to time when I was growing up. Fortunately for him, I liked to do nothing better than roll the pastry, studded with soft currants, into sheets, and then cut it into squares. Once they were baked, puffing up tall and golden, the Eccles Cakes were impossible to resist while they cooled, and I would invariably burn my tongue on the scalding, jammy currant filling.
It’s been far too long since I have made them, and I got a kick out of watching my own kids trying to be patient enough to let the little pastries cool before eating them.
Today’s recipe is adapted from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook(speaking of which, today is the last day to win one of three copies for your own!), and is just one of 150 recipes featuring fare from the popular British estate.
A Virtual Baby Shower for Jen – post round-up
Fall flavors and produce decidedly dominate this tasty list of baby shower eats, enticing you to visit each and every one.
Bluebonnets & Brownies | Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip
Sugarcrafter | Sweet Potato Cake with Honey Buttercream
My Baking Addiction | Mini Pumpkin Pies
Simple Bites | English Eccles Cakes
Stetted | Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip
Food for my Family | Homemade Pear Italian Sodas with Cardamom Cream
eat. live. travel. write. | Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartlettes
Gimme Some Oven | Creamy Caramel Apple Dippers
Dessert For Two | Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
Bake at 350 | Soft Sugar Cookies for a Baby Shower
A Thought For Food | Fingerling Potato Salad
TidyMom | Apple Pomegranate Spritzers
i am baker | Advice to a New Mommy
Healthy Green Kitchen | Guacamole with Pistachios
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures | Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Spread
What Megan’s Making | Apple Spice Muffins
Cookin’ Canuck | Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear & Hazelnut Salad
Bellalimento | Frozen Berry Shortcake
Shugary Sweets | Caramel Apple Truffles
GoodLife Eats | Coconut Lemon Banana Bread
|English Eccles Cakes||
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup dried currants
- 3/4 cup raw cane sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 (17.5-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1⁄4 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Thoroughly grease a large baking sheet.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in currants, sugar, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly until sugar is dissolved and fruit is coated. Remove from heat.
- Roll out thawed pastry on a clean, lightly-floured surface until it is 1⁄4-inch thick. Cut out eight circles, each roughly 5 inches in diameter; set aside remaining pastry dough for use in other recipes. Divide currant mixture evenly between circles, then moisten edges of pastries with a little bit of milk, fold together, and pinch to seal.
- Turn pastries upside down onto floured surface and carefully roll out to make a wider and flatter pastry. Be careful not to break the dough.
- Brush cakes with beaten egg, then sprinkle with white sugar. Make three parallel cuts across the top of each cake, then place on greased baking sheet.
- Bake pastries in preheated oven for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with a little more sugar, then serve.