I’ve been swamped with work so it’s been nothing but crickets around here from my end. I haven’t had much to write about really, as all the cooking that I’ve been doing has involved just emptying out all the bits n’ bobbins from my pantry. It’s tasty, in a gotta-do-it kind of way, but not all that exciting.
Yesterday I did celebrate one small work milestone with a bit of baking. After some website mockups that I had sent to a client were approved, I figured that a bit of celebratory baking was required. The thing was, I still had loads of other work to complete, so the prep and baking had to be quick so that I could get right back into the swing of things work-wise. Lucky me, I had just finished reading this post on Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. The photo reminded me of my favorite bakery item: the eccles cake. I know that some people are all about chocolate or a macaron or a cupcake. But for me, if I spot an eccles cake, it’s mine. It’s not the prettiest or the sweetest thing on the shelf…in fact, it’s just a little bit dowdy and plain Jane. But I know that what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in taste. Buttery, crispy and chewy all at once, and studded with lemony currants, it’s my idea of bakery perfection. Take that you starry-eyed cupcake!
So getting back to the real star of this post, the buttery raisin biscuit. Now, I’m calling these a biscuit in the way the British refer to cookies. These are not to be confused with the Southern-style biscuits dripping with gravy or clotted cream. Nope, these are a bar cookie of sorts or something akin to shortbread. I made the recipe as directed, except I used plain ol’ raisins instead of fancy currants and added a bit of lemon zest just to remind me of those eccles cakes. I started preparing the recipe, weighing the ingredients at the top of the hour and by half past, the biscuit was on my kitchen table cooling. A 30 minute treat, indeed. I don’t have a fluted tart pan, so I made do with my small 7 inch springform cake pan that worked just fine. When I cut into the biscuit, it didn’t have the crunch I was after, but it did have a good texture that was somewhere between a dense brownie and a scone. Next time (and oh, there will be a next time), I will bake it a bit longer for a bit more bite. This recipe only makes a small batch of biscuits as I was able to cut 8 wedges and after they disappeared, I wanted more. So go ahead and make a double-batch!
buttery raisin biscuits
120 g ap flour
90 g cold butter, cut into cubes
50 g white sugar
120 g raisins
zest from 1 lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and butter. Get it all crumbly using your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Add in sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until combined; add raisins and zest, stirring gently until evenly distributed. At this point, the mixture will still resemble coarse meal. Slowly add in a little bit of the egg and stir until a soft dough forms. You don’t want a dough that is too sticky. I used only half of an extra large egg, but I could have used a bit less.
Pat dough into a tart pan or a small springform cake pan. Make sure to get even coverage and then use the remaining egg to brush the top of the dough. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden.
(recipe adapted from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once)
Those raisin biscuits look anything BUT “plain jane” to me – they look spectacular! Yum!
Good luck with work – I hope it gets less-hectic for you a.s.a.p.!!
I was wondering what had happened to you. You’ve fallen of the blog radar.
That picture of the raisin biscuit looks quite lovely actually. I have never tasted a eccles cake before. Nor a macaron. Am I missing something? I guess I need to try making this so don’t seem quite so clueless about eccles. I’m still working my way through the UBC cake but with my current flu-like symptoms, cake is just not doing it for me. The weather here is crapola. Rain, rain and more rain.
How nice – you finish some work and WE get a treat!
This post is also so funny to me because – we don’t have clotted cream in the South, so we wouldn’t know to put it on a biscuit if you handed it to us. 🙂
So does it have a flavor like a shortbread, then? Because I think I could get on board with a giant round cookie of raisin shortbread!
I am so making these as soon as I can. I love eccles cakes (and squashed fly biscuits for that matter — originally from England and missing these things here in Vermont) so this sounds right up my alley.
Ah, another fan of the eccles cake! Looks delicious.
Starry-eyed: Ha! That’s about the best and most precise adjective that I’ve ever heard about a cupcake lol!
Never had an eccle before. Must investigate…
thanks for sharing such nice food’s recipes
I bet those taste like a scone, but way better? I could really see a slice of that going really well with a tall, iced latte. I’m ready! 🙂
bijoux, only the best bakeries have eccles cakes! you should find one that has them 🙂 or make this!
rachael, nice way of putting it! indeed, everyone gets a treat 🙂 it does have a flavour similar to shortbread, but different. i really can’t describe it except to say that it is wonderful!
iris, glad i could help! a squashed fly biscuit? i’m curious!
thanks dawna! hooray for the eccles cake!
heehee, jennie! yes, investigate the eccles cake, you won’t regret it!
dawn, it is similar to a scone…but not completely. it’s buttery and delicious and would go perfectly with a tall, iced latte!
Have I got the cccles cake hookup for you – at Brick Street Bakery, the organic bakery right around the corner from our place. I’ll take you there the next time you’re staying with us. You’ll cry, they’re so good!
I’ve got a very bad eccles cake problem thanks to Brick Street Bakery, actually…
ha, craig! beat you to it. i had one when we stayed at your place in march 🙂
Now that’s something I haven’t had in a while 🙂 I didn’t exactly grow up on Eccles cakes but I’m a good Northern English lass, so I’ve eaten my fair share!
These look like the business 🙂
super duper yum! It’s too hot here to bake now, but I’ll bookmark this page…and send it to my dad who is a great baker and cook. He’ll love this blog.
Found you via Everbody Knows – my good fortune!
hey i really like your blog!
if you’re interested in music to accompany your cooking escapades, check out my newly-returned blog, Half a Person: http://halfapersonblog.blogspot.com
thumbs up for any recipe with “biscuit” and “butter” in the title.
Halfway between a brownie and a scone?! I must have these! They look so good and I love things that are quick and easy to bake. I’ve never had an eccles cake.
taradharma, thanks for stopping by!
jen, i didn’t grow up on them either, but i certainly can appreciate them…a lot.
totally, michelle, totally!!
eat me, an eccles cake is made with puff pastry so it’s quite different from this biscuit. but i do like this recipe a lot and i’m sure it will be fun to play with ingredients and flavours.
wow, those look divine. i’ll have to try this on the weekend. thanks for sharing!
You say butter…I say anytime! That looks really good…something to have with tea, perhaps.
ohhhh i’m so trying these!!! Wow simple and yet look amazing, bet you they are fab!!!
This looks so good but I am a ditz when it comes to conversion. Any chance of you posting the measurements in cups? Thanks!