Take one traditional fruit-filled English pastry, and put it in the hands of a chef who stretches recipes beyond their known limits, and what happens? A flavour-bomb happens, so to speak—don’t worry, nothing actually explodes in this Heston Blumenthal-inspired recipe, though that wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibilities with some of his recipes.
Probably the biggest surprise in store with this recipe, is that it isn’t tricksy. It comes from Heston Blumenthal at Home (Bloomsbury, 2011), which focuses on everyday British staples, and is a straightforward, easy-to-prepare dish. Even making the pastry is easier than you think.
These are super-rich Eccles cakes, named after the English town of the same name where, folklore has it, a chap sold them from his shop in the town centre in 1793. They’re also known as “dead-fly cakes” for the filling of currants, which have been likened to squished flies. The intense, sweet spiced fruit, enclosed in buttery puff pastry is countered with a sharp potted stilton blue cheese. Traditionally, Eccles cakes are served with a milder Lancashire cheese. Although eaten year-round, Eccles cakes are often associated with the festive season thanks to their spice, and would make a stunning stand-in for mince pies.