I was looking for a nice warming winter dessert when I found this recipe. It’s probably best served cold, but it might work warm or at least not straight out of the fridge.
All I’ve ever known about Eccles cakes is that they are English. So when I found this recipe I thought I’d better find out a bit more about them. Good old Wikipedia tells me that ‘Eccles cakes are named after the English town of Eccles. It is not known who invented the recipe, but James Birch is credited with being the first person to sell Eccles cakes commercially, from his shop in the town centre in 1793″. Any fans of the 1950s Goon Show will also know that Eccles was a character played by Spike Milligan – an amiable, well-meaning man with no wits or understanding, in other words a bit of an idiot. So the humble Eccles Cake has quite a history.
Winter is only four days away here in Victoria, so it’s time to start thinking of hearty winter casseroles. The combination of tomato sauce, vinegar, curry powder and brown sugar in this recipe reminds me of another one I make, which has pumpkin instead of the potato in it. The good thing with this recipe is that you probably have all the ingredients in the cupboard so it can be a last minute decision to make it.
This recipe comes out of a Woman’s Weekly pullout called Pies without Pastry. When I first saw the title I thought the filling was rhubarb and butternut pumpkin which sounded very strange. On reading the recipe I was relieved to discover the butternut was actually butternut biscuits crushed to make the base. When you top that with the filling of rhubarb and apples and the crust of coconut and brown sugar you end up with a great tasting pie.
I always marinate the fruit for my Christmas Cake in brandy and then slosh a bit more onto the cake hot from the oven. It makes a wonderfully rich cake which is great at Christmas, but is a bit too rich for other times of the year. This recipe has a great tip to substitute the brandy with cold tea. I’ve turned a failed Christmas Pudding into a cake by doing that, but this is the recipe I’ve come across that suggests using it from the beginning.
My husband would say that nothing you can add to rhubarb could make it taste any better, but Mum and Dad enjoyed a bowl of stewed rhubarb with custard or ice cream and she must have thought this recipe would be a nice change. Obviously she couldn’t find the scissors to cut it out, I think it’s just lucky she didn’t rip through through more of it.