Mincemeat Eccles Cakes

The leftover mincemeat from Christmas is finally getting used up! So while the filling to my Eccles cakes will be simple, I’m going to be making flaky pastry from scratch…

Opinions differ on whether Eccles cakes should be made with flaky or rough puff pastry, and some recipes say to just use store-bought puff – not my style. Letih’s Baking Bible even manages to contradict itself, noting that flaky pastry is used for Eccles cakes, and then in the recipe for Eccles cakes calling for rough puff! Well it wouldn’t be a real bible if it didn’t contradict itself, would it? :P

Anyway the instructions in Leith’s are clear, detailed, illustrated, and come with troubleshooting tips, which is perfect for me, so I’ll be following those.

According the Eccles cake recipe a single batch of (rough puff) pastry made with 225g of flour makes 6 Eccles cakes, as you use a 12.5cm cutter on them. As I’m making these for work treats I don’t want huge Eccles cakes so I’ll be using a smaller 9cm cutter. Also I don’t have a 12.5cm cutter! My biggest is 10cm.

To make the pastry you start by making a détrempe, which is the base mix of flour, a little fat plus water. You then add more fat to the détrempe to make the final pastry.

  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 42g butter, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 42g lard, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 43g butter, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 43g lard, cut into 1cm pieces

The recipe calls for cutting then rubbing 42g of butter into the flour & salt: I’m just going to use the food processor. Then the water is added, adding a little extra if really needed to bring it all together.

The détrempe is shaped into a 2cm thick rectangle, wrapped tightly in clingfilm, and popped in the fridge for 10 minutes.

After chilling the détrempe is rolled out into a 12x35cm long rectangle. 42g of lard are dotted over the top 2/3 of the détrempe and then it gets business letter folded.

bizletterfoldYou press down the open edge with the rolling pin, then it then gets turned 90 degrees and rolled out to 3 times as long as it is wide, and folded again in the same way. This fold that doesn’t have any fat added is called a blind fold according to Leith’s. Then it’s back in clingfilm and back in the fridge for another 10 minutes.

After chilling you roll out to a length 3 times the width, dot the butter on the top 2/3, fold & press down edges, turn, roll out to 3 times width again, dot the lard on top 2/3, fold & press down edges, then do another blind fold. And if it’s still streaky do another blind fold, but no more than this. Finally it’s ready to be rolled out to 3mm thick and the Eccles cakes circles cut out.

What a lot of faffing! Here it is laid out step-by-step:

  1. Make the détrempe
  2. Form in a 2cm thick rectangle
  3. Wrap & chill for 10 minutes
  4. Roll out to 12x35cm
  5. Add lard to top 2/3
  6. Fold & press down edges
  7. Turn 90 degrees
  8. Roll out to 3 times width
  9. Fold
  10. Wrap & chill for 10 minutes
  11. Roll out to 3 times width
  12. Add butter to top 2/3
  13. Fold & press down edges
  14. Turn 90 degrees
  15. Roll out to 3 times width
  16. Add lard to top 2/3
  17. Fold & press down edges
  18. Turn 90 degrees
  19. Roll out to 3 times width
  20. Fold
  21. If still streaky: one more roll & fold
  22. Chill
  23. Roll out to 3mm
  24. Cut circles out

So: détrempe…

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Dot…

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Fold…

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Chill…

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Fold/dot/chill/fold/chill/fold…

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Aaaaannnnnd chill.

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Finally it’s time to roll out to about 3mm and cut the 9cm circles out.

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Now you can add a tsp of filing, mincemeat in my case, to each circle and pull the pastry up around the filling and squeeze to seal. This is very fiddly! Probably easier with the larger circle you’re supposed to cut out… I then pressed between my hands to flatted out, as the recommended method of using a rolling pin didn’t seem practical with these small cakes.

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Then on to a lined baking tray, and give them a final chill.

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Brush with whisked egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar. Poke 3 slits in each with a knife.

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Bake at 200C fan for 20 minutes, turing half way through.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLooking good… so onto the rack to cool down from molten hot to edible.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd… I MADE FLAKEY PASTRY! It’s flakey. Like real flakey pastry someone who knows what they’re doing might make. I’m very happy with myself :)

2 thoughts on “Mincemeat Eccles Cakes

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