The Complete Book of Pastry by Bernard Clayton, JR. is a battered, dog-eared, stained cookbook that I took with me from home when I left. My dad gave it to my mother back in 1985, so the inscription dates, but it was more my sisters and I who delved into it and began baking our own sweet and savory delicacies at a very young age. I have an attachment to this cookbook, not just because of all the great recipes it holds, but because of all those memories between its pages.
Recipes such as Quiche Lorraine, Croissants, Apple Strudel and Classic Puff Paste are penciled-over, ripped, and well-used. My dad certainly benefited from this purchase, but then he generally did for every cookbook he brought home!
As a young girl, a particular favorite recipe of mine was Eccles Cakes. This particular interpretation of a classic British tea-time treat is more of a Canadian version of the original tea cakes of
Imagine a layer of black currants and sugar pressed between two sheets of puff pastry and baked to a crisp, caramelized delicious morsel.
What’s not to love?
With only three ingredients (once you have bought or made that time-consuming puff pastry) it is fast to make and you can easily whip up a batch for afternoon tea. So put the kettle on.
Bernard Clayton credits British Columbian chef, Bert J. Phillips for the recipe.
1 ½ lbs puff pastry, chilled
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup currants
Plump currants in hot water 10 minutes, drain and set aside. Roll chilled dough in a floured surface in to a rectangle 3/16 inch thick. Put aside for a moment while removing all dusting flour. Sprinkle the work surface generously with sugar and continue rolling dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Trim the piece in to a precise rectangle. Cover half the dough solidly with currants in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Fold the remaining half of the dough over the top of the currants.
Gently press a rolling pin over the entire surface until the black currants show through the sheet of thin dough. The result is a nice speckled appearance.
With a knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough into 2-inch squares and place 12 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the refrigerator to relax the dough for 25 minutes while the oven heats.
Reheat oven to 375F.
Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. When the bottoms have caramelized and who light brown, carefully turn the cakes over and finish baking. ( I forgot to do this step, so my tops are less caramelized.)
Place cakes on rack to cool. Enjoy!