Thursday, 17 September 2015
Vegan Mofo Day 17 - Make (or eat!) a traditional local dish - Vegan Eccles Cakes
I've been living in Derbyshire for over a year now so my first thought for this prompt was something local to this area. Derbyshire oatcakes are naturally vegan and are a damn fine accompaniment to a vegan breakfast (it's the pancake type thing at the edge). We buy them ready made from our local health food shop The Peak Of Health.
However, I decided to go with something local to where I was born and bred. Salford is a city that borders on Manchester and has strong links to vegetarianism. Back in 1763 the Reverend William Cowherd (not making that up) demanded that the congregation at his Beefsteak Chapel in Salford (not making that up either!) follow a meat free diet and the British vegetarian movement was founded. If you're interested read all about him here in this BBC article. The recipe I've chosen to veganise comes from an area of Salford known as Eccles which is also home to Elvis. Yep, Elvis is alive and well and living in Eccles flats just by the precinct. I like to think that the King is a fan of Eccles Cakes.
The Eccles Cake is a dried fruit concoction wrapped in flaky pastry. I wouldn't even dream of attempting to make my own puff pastry but luckily in England we have Jus Rol for all our vegan puff pastry needs.
Once the pastry is rolled out with the filling in the middles you close it up so the edges meet.
Then you flatten the Eccles Cakes with a rolling pin, slash the top three times with a knife and then sprinkle with caster sugar.
They were a slight fail in that the tops opened up whilst cooking. My circles of pastry needed to be slightly bigger (my cookie cutter was a bit shy of 4 inches) and the edges closed together more firmly but that's easily rectified next time and the taste was spot on.
The perfect snack to have with a big pot of tea.
1 packet of Jus Roll pastry block
50g (2oz) soft brown sugar
50g (2oz) margarine
100g (4oz) currants
50g (2oz) mixed peel
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
Caster sugar for sprinkling
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas 6
Mix the soft brown sugar, margarine, currants, mixed peel and mixed spice to make the filling mixture.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until 4mm (1/4 inch) thick and then cut out 4 inch circles.
Place a teaspoon of the filling mixture in the centre of each circle
Wet the edges of the pastry with cold water and pull together. Join firmly in the middle.
Turn each Eccles Cake over and flatten with the rolling pin until you can just see the fruit. Each cake will be about 3 inches across.
Place on a greased baking tray or silpat mat. Make 3 little cuts with a knife in the centre of each cake and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake for around 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Allow to cool before eating.