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Mrs. Dunlinson's Plate Cakes

British senior art director James Dunlinson got this recipe for traditional plate cakes, which originated in Cumberland, England, from his mother, Julia.

  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2000


  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon butter, for plate
  • Pate Brisee
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. In a medium bowl, toss apples and lemon juice. Gently fold in raspberries. Set aside. Coat an 8- or 9-inch ovenproof plate with butter. Set aside.

  2. Divide the pate brisee in half; roll out one half on a lightly floured surface, to a circle 1 inch larger than the plate, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to prepared plate. Mound the fruit in the center of the plate, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Brush the edge of the pastry with water to seal crust.

  3. Roll out remaining pastry, a few inches larger than the plate, and place on top of the fruit. Trim off any excess, then turn the edges under to seal. Flute the edges with fingers or a fork, and make 2 or 3 slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush egg wash evenly over cake, and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Place plate on a sheet pan to catch any drips. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden and fruit is bubbling. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes before serving.


For gooseberry or currant plate cakes, replace the fruit in step 1 with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 pounds (5 cups) either gooseberries (brown stems removed) or whole black currants. Pile sugared fruit onto the plate with the rolled-out bottom crust. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Brush the edge of the pastry with water to seal crust. Continue with step 3 in recipe.

Cook's Notes

You will need an 8- to 9-inch ovenproof plate, such as an ironstone or stoneware dinner plate. The recipe calls for raspberries and apples, but any summer berries can also be used; the amount of sugar will vary with the tartness.

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