Eccles Cakes.

 

A couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at Eccles Cakes for the very first time.
 
A few weeks ago when I was watching The Great British Bake Off my hubby said to me that a lot of bakes he finds far too sweet and sickly. As someone with a sweet tooth I found this difficult to understand. Although I do find as I’m getting older my taste buds are changing…

One bake hubby likes though are Eccles Cakes. A few weeks back he was tempted when our local Booths store had some on special offer in packs by the front entrance. He came home with some and was asking if they were easy to make. To be honest I didn’t know as I’d never made them before. I knew they were made with puff pastry, my nemesis in the kitchen. Why faff about all day making your own when you can use Jus Rol. Even Mary Berry says it’s ok, and if the First Lady of Baking says so then that’s fine by me. 

I’ve never had a thing for Eccles Cakes. I think it was because my Nana used to buy them from a local bakery and by the time we got to eat them they were always dry and stale. 

So, I thought as it was half term week and I’d have a little more time to play about, I’d have a go at some home made Eccles Cakes. Paul Hollywood has a recipe in his British Baking book and wait for it… lo and behold he says you can use ready made puff pastry to make them! What?! Couldn’t hear him saying that on Bake Off!

So, Jus Rol it was then. I’m far too busy to faff about making puff pastry. 

Paul’s recipe was very easy to follow and even had some step-by- step pictures and instructions to follow when making up the Eccles Cakes.

First I washed some currants, dried the, and then added them to a bowl with melted butter, caster sugar, some nutmeg and lemon zest. It was a delicious aroma and was very tempting to stick a teaspoon in and eat a few mouthfuls!

Next I rolled out my puff pastry on a lightly floured worktop and cut out rounds with a circular pastry cutter. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the one the right size, used an 8cm one instead of the 10cm one that Mr Hollywood suggested. After the rounds had been cut out, I spooned carefully the currant mixture in the middle of the pastry.  This was then finished off by brushing the rim of each Eccles cake with water then gathering up all the edges over the filling. I then pressed the gathered edges to seal the Eccles cakes and turned them face down on my lined baking tray.

I then flattened the top of the Eccles cakes with my hand and made 3 slits on the top of each one. They were then brushed with milk and put in the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes.

I forgot to sprinkle the tops with caster sugar even though I’d put some out ready in my sugar dredger. They still looked ok though.

 

My Eccles Cakes came out a lot smaller than they should as I used the wrong size cutter.
  
My husband loved these Eccles Cakes .
 When they were warm out of the oven I took one to hubby with a cup of tea. He scoffs it down and asked for another one. They were smaller than the ones in the shop and although I’d only baked 12 and had filling left over he was allowed seeing as it was a long time til dinner! After dinner everyone else had apple cake and custard but hubby asked for more Eccles Cakes. I had to put the rest in a box to hide from him!

Well I don’t think I’ll be baking hubby a cake for his next birthday, he can have a giant Eccles Cake instead with a candle stuck in the middle of it! He has asked if I’ll make them again at Christmas, maybe I could try a version with cranberries in it.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Family Mealtimes with Dr Oetker Pizzas

I was really looking forward to my pizza tea.

One pizza for each of my family minus hubby who was away working
 This is a blog post I was meant to write about last month and due to all my crazy commitments it never got written. Now half term is here I’m beginning to catch up with myself again. Blogging ends up being pushed to the back of the queue when I’m trying to get everything else sorted.
Anyway, I was contacted by Brazen PR who asked me if I would like some vouchers to try out Dr Oetker’s new product, their Calzone Speciale. I said yes, all my family love Calzone if we go out for an Italian meal. We also love the Dr Oetker Ristorante Pizzas which to me are very useful if you are having a busy week and don’t have much time to cook.
Dr Oetker Calzones are only available in Asda at the moment. I don’t often go to Asda, as both local Asdas are about 12 miles away from me and I find them far too crowded. I can never get a parking space when I go to Asda!  I do like Asda though, don’t get me wrong. It’s just I have other supermarkets nearer to me. The vouchers could also  be used with the Ristorante Pizzas so that’s what I decided to do as they were more widely available.  I found these in my local supermarket which is Morrisons.

I chose three different flavour pizzas, two of which my children had already tried and loved. According to Dr Oetker’s website they are “the nation’s favourite thin and crispy pizza” which cooks “to perfection in  about 10 minutes” I must admit I don’t buy pizzas that often, they’re usually something I enjoy when eating out. But I was keen to try the Pollo flavour, which had chicken and sweet corn on the top. I knew my kids would scoff down their favourite, the Pizza Mozzarella which is like a Margarita pizza with basil on top. Another winner in our house is the Pepperoni Salami one.

One busy Thursday night last month I had just the opportunity to use the pizzas. Hubby had been in London working for the day and had eaten out. I had been at work all day and as soon as hubby got back I was on the road to my mum’s overnight about 2 hours away. So a quick but tasty dinner was needed. Usually I try to share out the flavours but my kids said “Ugh no!” to the chicken one. So I ended up with it.

I would give my pizza 3 stars out of 5. Even though it had been in the oven for the recommended time and temperature it tasted doughy to me. I don’t like deep pan pizzas and much prefer thin and crispy bases. The topping was ok, but I’m not really a fan of chicken on pizza. My kids enjoyed their pizzas and they loved the bases. They also thought there were plenty of toppings. 

pollo, pepperoni and Mozzarella pizzas from Dr Oetker Rstorante range

Thankyou so much again to Brazen PR who very kindly sent me the Dr Oetker vouchers. I’m hoping to try the Calzones in the fur when I can get to my nearest Asda.

Love Sam xx