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Eccles cake

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Eccles Cake

This cake takes its name from the town of Eccles, England.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/3 cups shortening
About 12 tablespoon water
1 cup currants
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

For pie crust, mix flour and salt, cut in shortening until size of small peas*.
Add water gradually as needed.
Mold into one ball, reserving small amount for patches.
Flatten pie crust with hands until about the size of a pie.
Put currants in a pile in the center of the pie crust.
Top with sugar.
Dot with pieces of margarine.

Fold sides and ends of pie crust into the middle to form a ball again.
Roll out carefully with rolling pin, using reserved pie crust to patch areas where ingredients poke through, until 1/4 inch thick throughout.
Roll dough out on top of generously floured brown paper, cut from a brown paper bag, for ease of handling.
Transfer to cookie sheet (brown paper and all!).
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling.
Cut immediately upon removing from oven into squares.

* Baker’s hint: You can mix the flour, salt and shortening in bulk and store in a tightly covered container in refrigerator.
When you want to use it, scoop out 4 cups to make Eccles cake.
You will also be prepared to make pies.

toad-in-the-hole

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Toad-in-the-Hole

This is a classic British dish consisting of a Yorkshire pudding batter with pre-cooked sausages in it.

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound small link pork sausages
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup milk

Place the butter and sausages in a 12-inch roasting pan or cast-iron skillet and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour into a bowl and beat in the egg.
Add half the milk slowly, beating until the batter is smooth, then add the remaining half of the milk and beat until very smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan with the sausages and bake 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the batter rises up the sides of the pan and turns golden brown.

Serves 4 to 6.

Shortbread With Cumberland Rum butter

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Shortbread with Cumberland Rum Butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Superfine sugar (for dusting)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/3 cup dark Jamaican rum

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl beat the butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft, then continue beating while adding sugar then the flour.
When it gets hard to handle, bring it together with the spoon and make into a ball with your hands.
Transfer to a working surface that has been lightly dusted with superfine sugar.
Quickly and lightly roll out about 1/8 inch thick.
You may need to dust the rolling pin with sugar, also. With a 3-inch diameter crinkled cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake on a high shelf in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they are a pale golden color — no darker.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack and dust them with some superfine sugar.
When cool, store in an airtight container.

Melt the butter in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat. As butter is melting, put the sugar in a large mixing bowl and remove all lumps by pressing them out with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Add nutmeg.
Pour on the rum and mix well.
Pour on the melted butter and stir in well.
Put mixture into a glass bowl, cover the surface with wax paper and, when cool, place in the refrigerator until serving time.

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