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Gur Cake

Servings: 12
To a young Dublin "jackeen", going on the gur' meant mitching from, skiving off, or taking an unathorizied day off, school. A wise (gurrier) would have acquired the price of a piece of gur cake to sustain him. Gur cake is, of course, an invention of commercial bakeries to use up unsold cakes and breads-by it's very nature the taste and texture changed from day to day. Lefovers are mixed up, with a little extra dried fruit and enough water to bind the lot into a moist gunge (indeed, the Cork version was often called "donkey's gunge"), sandwiched between 2 layers of robust pastry, baked and then cut into good sized chunks. This concoction, always the cheaped item on sale in the bakery shop, was much beloved of Dublin gurriers, especially when hot and steaming from the oven.

Gur cake is still on sale in the city of Dublin, especially in the Liberties. Elsewhere, much the same cake goes by the grand titile of "fruit slice". If you are thrifty and into recycling you might like to try this domestic version. It's good made with tired Christmas cake or pudding, with boiled fruit cake, brack, sponge cake and bread. Obviously, the more bread in the mixture the more dried fruit you need to add.

280g (10 oz.) shortcrust or puffed pastry
About 350g (12 oz.) leftover cake or bread
60g (2 oz./1/2 cup) unsifted self-rising white flour
90g (3 oz./scant 1/2 cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg, beaten (or the equivalent amount of milk or water) to mix with 1-2 teaspoons mixed spice
60-175g (2-6 oz./1/4-3/4 cup) mixed dried fruit, or to taste
A little milk, for brushing top of pastry

Place the leftover cake/and or bread, in a food processor and whiz until you have fairly fine crumbs. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients using as much fruit as you feel you need to achieve a rich "fruity" mixture. Add the beaten egg/mixed spice (or milk or water) mixture using as much liquid as will make a stiff paste like texture.

Grease a retangular 28cm x 20cm (11x7 inch) cake tin. Roll out the pastry thinly into 2 pieces the size of the tin. Line the bottom of the tin with one layer of pastry. Spread the filling on top. Cover with the second layer of pastry. Prick the top all over (lighly) with a fork, then brush with a little milk.

Bake at 190 degrees C (375 F) Gas Mark 5, for 45-55 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Cool in cake tin.

Traditionally, Gur cake is cut into rectangular chunks about 9cm long by 5cm wide (3 1/2 inches long by 2 inches wide) .

Source: Best of Irish Home Baking by Bitty White Lennon
Date: March 12, 2003