Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Savoury Leek and Stilton 'Eccles' cake

For those of you may not be familiar with Eccles cakes, they are a particular kind of English cake. Individual flaky pastries filled with either currants or raisins, glazed and coated in crunchy sugar grains. D really likes Eccles cakes, but has struggled to find a good commercial brand.

Eccles cakes are believed to have originated in a little place called Eccles, formerly within the Lancashire boundary but this has been debated by some food historians who argue that similar types of sweet patties were being made elsewhere in England. This photograph is of an Eccles cake bakery was taken when we visited Liverpool last year.
To add to this, these sweet patties are known by different names. I’ve known them to be called Squashed Fly Cake, and even a Fly's Graveyard. I’ve been told that they also exist in Scotland, but in a very different guise: simply as a fruit slice. So it with some reservation that I call these Savory cakes 'Eccles' cakes, especially in the light of recent proposals to protect them and prevent bakers from calling cakes 'Eccles cakes' unless they have actually been made in Eccles. Something else of interest though, the word ‘eccles’ actually means church and is derived from the Greek word ‘Ecclestia’.
The pastry for this savoury version was light and flaky. The filling was creamy and salty from the cheese, and silky from the leeks. Although I preferred this warm I think these would be good eaten cold too. So perfect for taking to work for lunch or summer time picnics for those of you blessed with sunshine. The sun is rather shy to come out in Scotland, even on summer days. So picnics here are always followed by rain, well that has been my experience so far. Talking of weather, the snow here has finally melted away, but I wonder for how long until the next flurry?!
Leek and Stilton ‘Eccles’ Cakes
Makes 6
1 x ready rolled puff pastry
Plain flour for rolling
For the filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
300g leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
100g Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs
To glaze
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds
First make the filling, heat the oil in saucepan. Add the leeks, herb and season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes until softened. Turn off heat and allow to cool before stirring in Stilton cheese and breadcrumbs.
Lay pastry out on a board and first cut out 4 x 5 inch or 6 inch rounds. Then gather the pastry roll out with a rolling pin and cut out a further 2. Divide the filling between the pastry rounds, placing it in the centre of each. Dampen the edges of the pastry and gather the pastry over the filling. Press the pastry together in the centre forming a ball. Turn the balls over and flatten them lightly with a rolling pin. Using a sharp knife, make 3 small parallel cuts in the top of each. Brush the top and sides of the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Chill until ready to make.
Heat oven to Gas mark 6. Place on a baking tray and cook at the top of the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until evenly browned. Adapted from Leiths Vegetarian Bible by Polly Tyrer.


  1. Ooh they do look good. I've got leeks in the garden at the moment so I'm going to pick up some blue cheese today and give them a try (may have to substitute as stilon is not widely available in oz)

  2. Thank you so much Funkbunny.
    Oh how I envy your homegrown leeks. Please use any blue cheese that you like, I am sure it will be fine.
    Hope you had a merry Christmas and heres wishing you a Happy New Year.

  3. they look so filling and comforting! what a fabulous recipe!! <3

  4. these look wonderful - I always love a savoury version of a sweet cake - glad you got in before laws are passed to ban the naming of such delicacies :-)

  5. oh so perfect!! i have about 20 leeks still (got a little happy in the garden...) and loves me some stilton ;)

  6. I was born in Lancashire and remember Edmonds eccles cakes being the nicest tasting, they are still being made, as children we called them squashed fly cakes :)

    I would never have thought of a savoury one must give it a try.

  7. These must be good!

  8. Thank you Kelsey.

    Thank you Johanna GGG.
    I am still expecting a clever wit to turn up and tell me off about something or other about the Eccles cakes :-)

    Thank you so much EcoGrrl.
    Wow about 20 leeks - This Welsh girl in Scotland is so envious ;)

    Thank you Cate aka vintage mum.
    for sharing your memories of eccles cakes. Doyou know if they are sold commercially as I will tell D about them. Yes I rather like the nickname squashed fly cakes :)

    Please do give the savoury version a try.

    Thank you LeLa.

  9. thank you so much, dear! I am glad you think so! I really do enjoy all of your pictures! yumm! I've been vegetarian for a year and 4 months, now! I love it!

    love, polly :)

    maybe you'd like to do a vegetarian post on my blog?? I'd like that. If you're interested, email me at

  10. This recipe makes me wish I had pulled up the last of my leeks from the garden before the blizzard hit, Mango. I do love a savory pie, especially with a blue cheese. Happy New Year's!

  11. Hi Polly,
    Thank you so much. The photography is shared by myself and my husband. He does most of the scenic one.

    I'd love to do a vegetable cuisine post on your blog in the near future. So will be e mailing you pretty soon.

    Thanks Barbara.
    Maybe you can make it in the New Year when the weather is a little more kinder.
    Happy New Year to you too. x

  12. You had me at leeks ... and then at "eccles"

  13. Dear Mangocheeks, thank you so much for commenting on my blog about my miniature kale pies. I find your blog very inspiring, and will add it to my to-read list! But, I'm just curious, do you understand swedish? Or did you translate the blog using some sort of internet translator?
    Best wishes for the new year.
    Rebecka at Skafferi Alkemi

  14. Thank you Anna A.

    Rebecka aka Skafferi Alkemi.
    Thank you for repaying the compliment.
    I actually used google translator when I visited your blog, sadly I do not understand Swedish. Happy New Year to you too.

  15. Oh, the horror. My childhood in Lancashire was littered with those squashed fly cakes in a number of different guises.

    Happily your recipe looks much nicer!

  16. Thanks Moyra.
    You must be catching up with your blog reads :)

  17. Oh I love squashed fly cakes! I never knew they had to be baked though in Eccles to be called that, am sure local bakery has them....!

    Your savoury version look great, love the idea of the creamy sweet leeks with the stilton!

    1. Thanks Anne.
      You can find them in most bakers thats for sure.


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