Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7.
First, melt the butter in a small pan, taking care not to burn it.
Then, in a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, the Demerara sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest.
Roll out the puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick (so quite thin really). Cut 12–15cm discs from the pastry using a cookie cutter or an upturned bowl.
Place a good tablespoon of the filling onto the centre of each disc, and then brush the edges of the discs with a little cold water. Next, use your fingertips to draw the edges over the filling to meet in the middle, scrunching them together to seal, (this will be the underside, so don’t worry about presentation at this point).
Turn over your cakes and flatten your scrunched underside by pressing down with the flat of your hand. They should be discs about 10cm across and about 1–2cm thick, depending on the amount of filling. Neaten the edges with the flat of a knife.
Cut three slits in the middle of the tops, then brush the tops with a mixture of milk and melted butter. Finally, dip in caster sugar to coat the tops.
Transfer to a greased baking tray and bake for 10–12 minutes until golden brown.
To serve, place two warm Eccles cakes on the centre of a nice white plate with a chunk of your favourite crumbly Lancashire cheese on the side.
The Great Northern Cookbook by Sean Wilson, Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2012 © Amanda Heywood