A sweet, buttery, curranty filling encased in crisp, golden flaky pastry – classic British bake meets tasty Purim treat! It’s the Eccles cake hamantaschen!
Every year as Spring rolls around my thoughts turn to hamantaschen – those delicious three-cornered pastries traditionally enjoyed on the Jewish festival of Purim, which this year (2019) falls on 20-21 March. I really like creating new and different variations on the classic treat, whether they are sweet and crunchy like my fortune cookie hamantaschen, or deliciously savoury like my fabulous pizzataschen, which are perfect Purim party fare.
But this year I found myself at a bit of a loss. My inspiration had dried up and my creative juices just weren’t flowing. What to do?
Do something else!
As so often happens, by setting the problem aside and getting on with something else, the answer was encouraged to come forward!
We were in the North, visiting Kipper’s Grandparents for a few days. Inevitably, we spent a fair amount of time driving between DH’s parents’ house and my Mum’s house. As we circumnavigated the M60 for the umpteenth time, I noticed the sign for the exit to Eccles and Irlam. That was it!
The Eccles cake hamantaschen was born.
Eccles cakes – a British classic
Have you ever had an Eccles cake? My Mum used to make them a lot when I was younger. They’re super easy to do and very, very delicious. Plus, as they’re packed with currants and other dried fruit, you can probably claim they count towards your five-a-day. What’s not to love?!
Eccles cakes traditionally hail from the town of Eccles, near Manchester. They consist of a dried fruit filling encased in flaky pastry, usually topped with a sprinkling of sugar. The fruity, buttery treats have been sold in Eccles since 1793!
Of course these fabulous Eccles Cake Hamantaschen also enabled me to indulge my sometime hobby of creating British-Jewish food hybrids. (See Chelsea Bun babka, Chanukah mince pies, and Hot Magen David Buns for more examples.)
Eccles cake hamantaschen
Making Eccles cake hamantaschen was a simple matter of changing the shape from round to triangular – to represent the villainous Haman’s pointy ears or three-cornered hat, depending on who you ask. I experimented a little with having the seam uppermost, as in a standard hamantaschen, or underneath, as in a standard Eccles cake. In the end, seam down worked best. Do your utmost to seal thoroughly – you can patch any holes with scraps of pastry, they won’t be seen anyway! – but don’t worry too much about leaking. Any sugary juices that sneak out during baking will simply create a delicious sticky, caramelised layer on the bottom of your Eccles cake hamantaschen.
You are of course completely at liberty to use this recipe to make standard round Eccles cakes for the rest of the year!
Makes 12-14 hamantaschen. Chag Purim Sameach!
If you like the ‘nosh!’ platter in the photo, you can get one here.
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Eccles cake hamantaschen
A sweet, buttery, curranty filling encased in crisp, golden flaky pastry - classic British bake meets tasty Purim treat!
- 35 g butter or margarine (2 1/2 tbsp)
- 75 g currants (1/2 cup)
- 25 g raisins (2 1/2 tbsp)
- 25 g chopped candied peel (2 1/2 tbsp)
- 25 g brown sugar (2 tbsp)
- 250 g readymade puff pastry
- Milk, plant-based milk, or egg wash for glazing
- A little extra sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a nonstick liner.
Melt the butter or margarine. Add the currants, raisins, candied peel and brown sugar and mix well, then set aside to cool.
On a well-floured surface roll out the puff pastry until 2-3mm thick. Use a 9cm (3.5 inch) round cutter to cut out circles from the pastry.
Brush a little milk/plant milk/egg around the edge of a circle of pastry, then spoon about 1.5-2tsp of filling into the centre. Fold up the edges to create a triangle shape, pinching and pressing the pastry well to seal. If there are any gaps, use a small offcut of pastry to patch it up. Place the hamantaschen seal-side-down on a lined baking tray and press lightly to flatten.
Continue with the remaining pastry and filling. You can re-roll the offcuts by layering them up and then rolling - don't squash into a ball or you will lose the flaky layers.
When all the pastry and filling is used up, brush each hamantaschen with milk/plant milk/egg and sprinkle with sugar if using. Cut a small slit in the top of each one to allow steam to escape while baking.
Bake at 200C (400F) for 15-18 minutes until risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold. Great in lunchboxes!