Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is E


E is for Eccles cakes


This is what Wikipedia will tell you about this elegant but homey pastry.....

"Eccles cakes are named after the English town of Eccles.


It is not known who invented the recipe, but James Birch is credited with being the first person to sell Eccles Cakes on a commercial basis, which he sold from his shop at the corner of Vicarage Road and St. Mary's Road, (now known as Church Street) in the town centre, in 1793


Nicknames for Eccles Cakes included Squashed Fly Cake, Fly Cake, Fly Pie or even a Fly's Graveyard, owing to the appearance of the currants that it contains.


But I can tell you of my own personal history with Eccles Cakes.  I can't remember my mother making them on a regular basis, but our Vicar's wife rolled out the slender pastry every morning, cut it in rounds and filled them with melted butter, currants and brown sugar, a bit of vinegar, a smidgen of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg)  - gathered the pastry together in a twist at the top, turned it over and rolled it out flat, sprinkled the cakes with sugar and put them in the oven to bake.  (Nowadays people use puff pastry......)

This was during the Great Depression (compared to which the recent one we had was just a little Dint) and the Vicar and his wife were compassionate people, not only preaching the word of the Lord but caring for the congregation as a shepherd would care for his sheep.  Each afternoon the Vicar's wife would visit in the Parish, carrying with her the offerings of her kitchen - the Eccles Cakes that she could whip up in a flash, so familiar were they to her fingers and her heart.

A little variation on the traditional Eccles Cake recipe involves using sweet pastry to make tartlet cases and filling them with Ecclefechan, which consists of...

1 egg
4 tbsps of melted butter
i cup mixed dried fruit
3 tbsps brown sugar
2 tsps wine vinegar
2 tbsps chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix the sugar, melted butter and eggs together.  Stir in vinegar, dried fruit and nuts.
Pour into unbaked pastry shells.  Bake for 30 mins at 375 F

For more variations on the Letter E go here, to ABC Wednesday  with many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt
and her kind crew.

21 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous, interesting post for the E Day! Love the look back and these do look delicious! Think I'll have to give the recipe a try! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Barb said...

You are a born storyteller, Hildred. I'm now wishing for one of those little cakes!

VioletSky said...

Oh my, now I will have to find a bakery that sells these delicacies...

Kay L. Davies said...

Eccles cakes remind me of my Scottish grandmother. I always loved them, and still do.
Thanks for the memories!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Carver said...

Great post for the E day. The cakes sounds so good and I enjoyed your memories.

Jane and Chris said...

I always wondered what was in an Eccles cake.
Jane x

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for the lovely recipe and the story about the vicar's wife. I see that you don't need flour in the cakes.
Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that we can do without a lot of electrical utensils. We used to go camping when my husband and I were 20 years younger. I had my laundry soak for a day and rinsed them the next day. We had no lights, we didn't need them for we always went to Scandinavia in summer. There it is light all evening.

photowannabe said...

These look delicious. I love how you told us the history and gave the recipe too. Thanks so much.

Roger Owen Green said...

not familiar, but look delish

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Gigi Ann said...

I have never heard of these little cakes. But, I'm sure they are delicious.

Tumblewords: said...

I've never had an Eccles cake but I'd certainly like to try one. The photos and recipe look delicious!

Misfit in Paradise said...

I had never heard of them before but, oh my, they do sound delicious.

Cezar and Léia said...

Hmmm looks delicious, thanks for the recipe, I'm taking my notes here! :)
Very interesting story about this cake, it's some new for me!Thanks for sharing!
hugs and a lovely day for you both!
Léia - Bonjour Luxembourg

Rinkly Rimes said...

My mouth is watering already.

ChrisJ said...

Oh my! My husband's favorite, but now he can't eat pastry. Just as I cannot eat eggs and I love them too.

chubskulit said...

Looks yummy!

E is for Eyes that Glow

The Weaver of Grass said...

A slightly less rich variety is called a Chorley cake . I absolutely love them.

Wanda said...

I will be trying these... I just made orange/cranberry scones this morning. These sound just wonderful, and I relate to the story as I've been a Pastor's wife for 50 years, and my speciality are cookies, and I've shared hundreds and hundreds of them.

Thanks for the new recipe and the inspiration and history of this little treat.

Dhemz said...

yum! I don't think I have those before....:)
Check out my ABC Wednesday entry as well. Much appreciated!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a great story -- I've never heard of these before and now I'm hungry for one. Are they a little bit like scones? I really want to try this recipe.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Now that I re-read the post, I see that the recipe is for the filling. (Bill's grandmother used to make the best donuts and bread in the world, just by heart -- she didn't have a recipe at all.) Nobody has ever been able to duplicate them -- I don't even try anything new unless it's written down in detail.