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Nelson Squares

Pastries - Sweet Double Crust Pies

Thin, c1ins, square pie with a filling of soaked bread or cake crumbs with dried fruit and sweet spices, baked. The dish does not seem to be associated with the town of Nelson, but may be a commemoration of the heroic admiral.

Similar to the 'Gur Cake' of Dublin.

Not Nelson Squares but the similar Irish 'Gur Cake'
Image: "Rwxrwxrwx"

Compare with Chester Cake

Original Receipt from

WC Rowe's Nelson squares

We spoke to Cornish bakers WC Rowe, who used to make these pastries 20 years ago to use up scraps from the bakery. They kindly supplied this recipe.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes, plus cooling
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling 60 minutes
Makes: 16

500g ready-made puff pastry
1 medium egg, beaten
300g cake crumbs from a sponge such as madeira cake, or trifle sponge
125g mixed dried fruit
2 tsp ground mixed spice
Caster sugar for dredging

Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Butter a 22cm-square baking tin, at least 3cm deep.
Roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle measuring about 28cm x 50cm. Cut into two sections so you have one square of around 28cm x 28cm and a rectangle of around 28cm x 22cm. Use the square to line the base of the baking tin - the pastry should come up the sides of the tin. Trim the rectangle to a square measuring 22cm x 22cm and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the cake crumbs, dried fruit and spice. Stir in enough hot water (150ml-175ml) to create a stiff paste. Spread this evenly over the pastry in the tin, leaving a slight gap around the sides. Brush the edge of the pastry with some of the beaten egg. Cover with the reserved square of pastry, and pinch the edges together with the bottom layer of pastry, to form a complete crust so that the filling is enclosed. Brush the pastry with more beaten egg, then use a fork to prick holes in the top of the pastry. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and puffed up. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out, dredge with caster sugar and cut into squares.

For other dishes associated with Lord Nelson, see:
Nelson Balls

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