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Rich’s ‘Aquavit Eccles Cake’

With Christmas around the corner we think it’s the perfect time to dig up our rolling pin and start baking again. We’re currently drooling over chef’s ‘Aquavit Eccles Cake’, a perfect little treat to welcome friends and family to your home over the festive period. Why not make a batch yourself? These flakey little pockets of pastry which are stuffed with boozy, spiced fruit are great on their own, but they are also an amazing accompaniment to a cheese plate.

Ingredients
For the rough puff pastry
50g Lard (chilled, cut into small cubes) 
50g Salted butter (chilled, cut into small cubes)
100g Lard (frozen and then grated) 
100g Salted butter (frozen and then grated)
375g Flour
200 ml(ish) Cold water
1tsp Salt

For the filling
200g Currants 
150g Grated apple
100g Mixed peel (orange)
100g Muscavado sugar
75g Butter
125ml Aquavit or Brandy/Bourbon
1tsp Mixed spice (Schwartz)
A pinch of carraway seeds

For the topping
1 beaten egg 
Demerara sugar  

Method
For the pastry
Add the flour, salt, chilled butter and lard to a food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse the contents until they resemble breadcrumbs. Tip the contents into a mixing bowl and add the frozen lard and butter. Using a palette knife, thoroughly stir around the grated fat in the breadcrumb mixture, taking care to coat the individual pieces. While still using the palette knife, slowly add the cold water and pull together the mixture into a dough. Finish off pulling the dough together with your hands. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least an hour…

For the filling
The day before, soak the currants and mixed peel in Aquavit. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Add the soaking currants and peel to a saucepan with the butter, grated apple, muscovado sugar and spices. Gently heat until the mixture comes together and thickens about 5-10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool…

To assemble
Remove your pastry from the fridge 10 minutes before you want to work on it.  Roll the pastry out to a 5mm thickness on a floured surface and cut into 14cm circles. Place a heaped teaspoon of the cool filling into the centre of the pastry discs and gently pull the edges over the filling into the centre. Pinch the edges together to seal the contents. Turn the parcel over so the pastry join is underneath and gently flatten with your hand being careful not to split the pastry. Make two small slits in the top of the pastry, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Place in a preheated oven at 200C for 13-15mins until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm.

With Christmas just around the corner we think it's the perfect time to dig up our rolling pin and start baking. We're currently drooling over chef's Aquavit Eccles cake, a perfect little treat to welcome friends and family to your home over the festive period. Why not make them yourself?
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