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November 20

Saint of the day:
Saint Edmund the Martyr

Patron Saint of Kings, pandemics, the Roman Catholic diocese of East Anglia, Douai Abbey,

wolves, torture victims, protection from the plague


Saint Edmund the Martyr's Story

Edmund the Martyr (also known as St Edmund or Edmund of East Anglia, died 20 November 869)[note 1] was king of East Anglia from about 855 until his death. Edmund's cult flourished in the Early and High Middle Ages, and he and Edward the Confessor were regarded as England's patron saints until they were replaced by Saint George in the fifteenth century.[2] Almost nothing is known about Edmund. He is thought to have been of East Anglian origin and was first mentioned in an annal of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written some years after his death. The kingdom of East Anglia was devastated by the Vikings, who destroyed any contemporary evidence of his reign. Later writers produced fictitious accounts of his life, asserting that he was born in 841, the son of Æthelweard, an obscure East Anglian king, whom it was said Edmund succeeded when he was 14 (or alternatively that he was the youngest son of a Germanic king named Alcmund). Later versions of Edmund's life relate that he was crowned on 25 December 855 at Burna (probably Bures St Mary in Suffolk), which at that time functioned as the royal capital,[3] and that he became a model king. In 869, the Great Heathen Army advanced on East Anglia and killed Edmund. According to Asser and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he died in battle,[4] but by later tradition he met his death at an unidentified place known as Haegelisdun, after he refused the Danes' demand that he renounce Christ: the Danes beat him, shot him with arrows and then beheaded him, on the orders of Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubba. According to one legend, his head was then thrown into the forest, but was found by searchers following the cries of an ethereal wolf calling out in Latin, "Hic, Hic, Hic" – "Here, Here, Here". A coinage commemorating Edmund was minted from around the time East Anglia was absorbed by the kingdom of Wessex and a popular cult emerged. In about 986, Abbo of Fleury wrote of his life and martyrdom. The saint's remains were temporarily moved from Bury St Edmunds to London for safekeeping in 1010. His shrine at Bury was visited by many kings, including Canute, who was responsible for rebuilding the abbey: the stone church was rebuilt again in 1095. During the Middle Ages, when Edmund was regarded as the patron saint of England, Bury and its magnificent abbey grew wealthy, but during the Dissolution of the Monasteries his shrine was destroyed. Medieval manuscripts and works of art relating to Edmund include Abbo's Passio Sancti Eadmundi, John Lydgate's 14th-century Life, the Wilton Diptych, and a number of church wall paintings.





St. Edmundsbury Cathedral

Angel Hill, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 1LS, United Kingdom



The Abbey of Bury St Edmunds

Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 1LS, United Kingdom



Traditional Eccles Cakes

One of Britain's most famous and beloved pastries, are these traditional and authentic Eccles cakes are delightfully flaky and packed with a mixture of sweet currants, candied citrus peel and spices.  Get ready to experience one of the most delicious pastries you've ever tasted!

*If you don't like spiced current mixture, fill the pastry with what you do like...blueberries, jam, many possibilities!



For the Pastry:

  • 3 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon (350 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 11 ounces (2 3/4 sticks, 312 grams) very cold butter, diced into cubes (put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes after cubing it to ensure it's very cold)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 125 ml ice cold water (add more if needed)

  • How To Render Lard (click link for recipe) (for extra flaky pastries you can substitute a little lard in place of some of the butter)

For the Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted

  • 1 1/2 cups dried currants (also known as zante currants)

  • 1/3 cup candied orange peel , very finely diced

  • 1/3 cup candied lemon peel , very finely diced

  • Homemade Candied Citrus Peel (click link for recipe)
    (STRONGLY recommend using homemade)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , loosely packed

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (not extract)


For Topping:

  • 1 large egg white

  • demerara sugar, for sprinkling (sugar in the raw)


  1. To make the pastry dough:  Place the flour, salt and cubed butter in a food processor (alternatively this can be done by hand) and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Gradually add the ice cold water and pulse just until the dough comes together (only add as much water as needed).  Do not overdo this as maintaining the flecks of butter is critical to achieving a flaky pastry.  

  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it out into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Fold each end of the dough into the middle with one end overlapping the other. Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Repeat all the steps. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the steps again, wrap the dough and chill for at least one hour before using. The pastry dough can be made a few days in advance or frozen.

  3. To make the filling:  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add all remaining ingredients except for the egg white and demerara sugar.  Turn off the heat and stir in the rum.  Let the filling sit for at least 3-4 hours before using or overnight.  The filling can be made a few days in advance.  If refrigerated, let the filling sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes before filling the Eccles cakes.

  4. To assemble the Eccles cakes: Flour a work surface and roll the pastry out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thickness.  Per your preference, either cut out rounds or squares.  Typical size is about 3.5 inches in diameter. *See pictures for instructions on making the square version of the cutouts (they're more customizable and don't waste any dough). Place the dough cutouts on a lined baking sheet.  Place as much filling on the cutouts as you can while leaving an adequate edge all around them to properly seal the pastries.Lightly brush the edges with water.Gather up the edges towards the center, pressing them gently together to seal.  Turn the cakes over with the sealed edges on the bottom.With the sealed edges on the bottom and the smooth surface on the top, gently press the cakes to slightly flatten them.  Don't press so hard that the currants break through the dough.  Use a sharp knife to cut three parallel slits in the dough.Brush with egg white and sprinkle with demerara sugar (can substitute cane sugar)

  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the Eccles cakes for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until just warm.Eccles cakes are best eaten a little warm. You can reheat them in the microwave.Traditionally enjoyed with a cup of tea and accompanied by an aged, crumbly cheese (e.g., Lancashire, English cheddar) for a sweet-savory combination.

NOTE:  To save time both the pastry dough and the filling can be made days in advance and kept chilled. I like to double or triple this pastry dough and freeze it so I always have it on hand.  Just thaw (but keep chilled) and use as directed.

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