Eccles Cakes are a traditional Lancashire treat with a very long history. More biscuit than cake, it's been made in Eccles since at least
1793, and has most likely been around since medieval times. According to Lancashire Eccles Cakes, the tasty treat has been produced by the Edmonds family since the 1930s, and their history page links the origin of the cakes to the Eccles Wake, an annual service to celebrate the founding of Eccles' 12th century church.
Whether that's likely or not, the cakes are still very popular as an afternoon pick-me-up or as a quick blitz of energy when you're out running or cycling.
Consisting of little more than puff pastry, dried fruit and sugar,
Eccles cakes are very easy to make at home if you don't want to go out and buy them. They're also ideal as an introduction
when baking with the children.
This quantity makes 8 Eccles Cakes.
Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas 7.
Dampen a baking tray with water or line it with non-stick baking foil.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the currants, mixed peel, sugar and allspice. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Roll out the puff pastry on a floured board to about 5mm thick and cut out 8 rounds with an 8-cm cutter.
Put a heaped teaspoon of fruit mix in the centre of each round. Dampen the edges of the pastry with water, then draw them up until they meet in the centre and completely enclose the filling. Squeeze together to seal.
Place them on the baking tray with the seal underneath. Brush with the milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
You can cut a few slashes into the top to let the filling show through.
Bake until golden and puffed up - about 10-12 minutes should do it.
Take the cakes out of the oven and sprinkle with more sugar.
Leave to cool before serving ... now, here's a challenge!