Once the ugly sister, eccles cakes now completely trump mince pies. You need this.
• For the pastry:
• 250 grams block of butter (frozen)
• 350 grams plain flour
• Pinch of salt
• Ice water
• For the cakes:
• In addition to the above pastry or 1 pack shop bought puff pastry
• 200 grams sultanas
• 50 grams mixed peel
• 75 milliliters brandy
• Juice and zest of 1 orange
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 100 grams soft brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
• 50 grams butter
• 50 grams brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra for scattering
1. The night before wrap the butter in foil and stick in the freezer. Pop your sultanas and mixed peel in a large bowl and let soak in the brandy and orange juice overnight too.
2. The next day, grab a large bowl and sift the flour and salt in. Keeping the butter in the foil to keep it cold, grate it into the flour. Dip the end in the flour occasionally to make it easier. Take a knife and start to mix the butter and flour together. Sprinkle a tablespoon. of water over and still using the knife, add a couple more to bring the pastry together. Finally use your hands to squish it into one mass. Cling wrap and stick in fridge to harden.
3. While waiting for pastry to harden, melt the butter for the cakes and stir it into the sultanas and peel. Add the sugar and spices. Set aside to cool to room temperature.