Traditional Irish Gur Cake Recipe (Perfect for St. Patrick's Day)
Irish Gur cake, also known as "fruit slices" and "chester cake," was originally devised by bakers in the 1930s to use up left-over bread at the end of the week. It is available now in almost every bakery shop in the country on a daily basis; like many other traditional foods, it has fallen prey to mass production.
I have to admit, I find the mass-produced version dry, and in my opinion, it bears little resemblance in taste to the homemade ones with which I grew up.
Of course, like almost everything my mother baked, getting exact measurements wasn’t easy. She gauged by the handful, and a keen eye.
As luck would have it, I found an old recipe with more precise measurements, and with a little adjusting here and there, I finally managed to make some, just as good as my mother’s offerings!
It is a delicious any-time-of-day snack and a perfect dessert. It can be served with custard, cream, or ice cream. But, in my view, it’s best eaten on its own with a nice cup of tea.
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Ingredients For Gur Cake
- 2 cups / 12 ozs plain flour
- 6 ozs butter or margarine, diced
- 8 tablespoons cold water
- Pinch salt, omit if using salted butter
- 12 regular slices of white bread or any leftover bread.
- 1 cup of strong tea
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup mixed dried fruit, raisins/sultanas
- 21/2 teaspoons mixed spice or cinnamon
- To Make Pastry - Use a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and blend in the cold butter, bind the mixture together with the cold water. Divide the pastry in half, and wrap one of the halves in plastic wrap and refrigerate for later use. On a floured surface, thinly roll out the remaining pastry and line the base of a greased rectangular 11x7x1/1/2 inch (28x18x4 cm) cake tin. Refrigerate while you are preparing the filling.
- For filling - Soak the bread slices in the strongly brewed tea; mash very well with a fork until smooth. Stir in the sugar, the dried fruit, and mixed spice (or cinnamon, if using) and set aside for an hour or two to let the dried fruit plump up. You may also, if you wish, leave this refrigerated overnight.
- To assemble - Remove pastry lined pan and remaining pastry half from refrigerator. Spread the filling on the pastry base. Roll out remaining pastry, and place it over the filling. Prick the pastry top all over gently with a fork. Press well down and brush the top with a little cold milk. Bake at 400 degrees F/ 200C/ or Gas Mark 6, for approximately 30 minutes or until pastry crust is golden brown. Remove cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack; allow to cool completely in the tin. When ready to serve, cut into slices or squares - and enjoy.
Nutrition values using standard ingredients
|Serving size: 31/2 x 2 approx.|
|Calories from Fat||126|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 14 g||22%|
|Saturated fat 8 g||40%|
|Unsaturated fat 1 g|
|Carbohydrates 62 g||21%|
|Sugar 40 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 3 g||6%|
|Cholesterol 37 mg||12%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
You may choose to use a low-fat margarine product,instead of butter. This will alter the above nutritional values accordingly.