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...
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.