Desserts

Salted caramel and peanut butter millionaire’s shortbread

In my house we call this “wellington square” but a quick search reveals we are the only ones to do this and so it will not generate the required google hits.

Anyway!

Heat oven to 160C (fan). Grease a 30cm x 20cm tin.

Layer 1 : Shortbread
225g butter
140g dry roast peanuts
250g plain flour
25g cornflour
85g golden caster sugar

Mix this lot in a food processor. When it clumps, take it out and knead it a bit to bring it together. There should still be lumpy peanuts, it’s part of the charm. Press into tin and bake for 25 minutes. Then you can turn the oven off. Chill*.

Layer 2 : Peanut butter
140g butter
225g peanut butter (smooth is best)
140g icing sugar

Melt the butters together in a pan and then pour it onto the sugar. Combine and smooth over the shortbread layer. Chill until set (2 hours ish).

Layer 3 : Caramel
200g butter
397g tin condensed milk
4 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp salt

(That’s half a teaspoon, not one or two teaspoons! But tastes differ, especially for salted caramel.)

Put this lot in a saucepan and boil quite vigorously. Seriously, don’t be shy. It should go a bit darker and thicken up. But really it’s impossible to describe when it’s done. Just try it and go for it. Leave it to cool slightly (10 mins) and then pour and smooth over the peanut butter. Chill (2 hours again).

Layer 4 : Chocolate toffee
300g dark chocolate
140g toffees
3 tbsp milk

Melt the toffees and the milk in a saucepan. Surprisingly, this won’t ruin your pan. When they’re done, take off the heat and melt the chocolate in a separate pan.

Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel layer of your tray bake. Then pipe squiggles of the slightly cooled toffee mixture to decorate.

Now – try and slice it (9 massive pieces to 24 small pieces) without knackering the chocolate.

* Both you and the mixture should learn how to chill; there is a lot of waiting in this recipe.

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Frozen fruit ice cream

Just watching Jamie’s money saving meals and have already cooked a recipe from it. He suggests freezing fruit when you’ve got too much which is a fab idea. The only problem is the reasons I waste fruit are both cant be bothered to eat it and can’t be bothered to prepare it. But will be using this tip a lot, especially when we move to the new house which will fit a chest freezer in the cellar! I will also be trying out his tip of freezing the ingredients for a smoothie together in a little bag, even including a few oats, so you can just tip them into the blender with milk. Yum yum!
Anyway, the ice cream. It’s supposed to use fruit you’ve frozen yourself but I had half a pack of bought frozen raspberries left over from a a raspberry bakewell I made so used them. There aren’t really any measurements, just trial and error I guess!

Blend frozen fruit with plain yoghurt (I used two pots of children’s apricot yoghurt as hadn’t got any natural) until smoothish but cold
Eat!

This is definitely in the permanent collection!

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Toffee apple pudding

Tonight Chris cooked the main and I cooked the dessert, using only ingredients we already had! As you may guess, he made a Thai chicken curry with coconut milk, coriander and paste left over from yesterday! I made an apple self- saucing pudding from good food magazine. It was nice, but at nearly 500 calories for a sixth, which wasn’t a huge portion, I will be making a few changes or just baking apples next time!

Ingredients
85g melted butter
140g plain flour (I only had sr)
100g golden castor sugar (this is what I had, but would happily use granulated)
1 tbsp baking powder
200 ml milk
1 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 apples (recipe says cooking, I used eating)
For the topping
140g dark brown sugar
50g pecans (just for a topping, use whatever nuts and however many!)

Method
Mix the main dry ingredients (not the dark brown sugar)
Mix the wet ingredients, then mix into the dry ones to make a smooth batter
Chop the apples and put in a layer in the bottom of a casserole bowl
Pour on the batter
Mix the dark brown sugar with 250ml boiling water until it dissolves
Pour this mixture over the batter (like with a self-saucing pudding. Don’t worry, it works!)
Put on the plan nuts
Cook for 40 mins at 200

How I will change it next time:
Cook 5-10 mins longer, the bottom was very wet
Halve the amount of dark brown sugar and boiling water. This made it very bad for you, not ne for diabetics, but also there was absolutely tons of sauce!
Add at least one extra apple

Good luck if you try it, it is tasty!

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Shortcrust pastry

As with most things, this is easy. If you don’t have something just put something else similar in.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
100g butter or butter-a-like
A pinch salt
Water or something like it

Okay.

Put the flour in the food processor with the butter and the salt. I didn’t have any butter so I used the light stuff that they always tell you not to use. Also my hand slipped with the salt so I can confirm that anywhere up to a teaspoon of salt is fine.

Mix them up.

Add water bit by bit until it comes together as a dough. I was making sweet pastry so I put a bit of icing sugar in too. I once read that lemon juice was good in pastry but we didn’t have any of that as Juliet had used it in one of her extravagant recipes (see above… and probably below).

So I used Morrison’s Peach fruit and barley squash.

Once it’s together as a dough take it out, knead it a bit, and then use it.

VoilĂ !

I have been reading the blog and I see now why Juliet has not been keeping the house tidy. Posts will slow down now as I correct her behaviour. Enjoy your pastry.

Categories: Cooking, Desserts, Difficulty, Easy, Pastry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Warning: may contain nuts

I have never made Nut Brittle before, but I will again. It is tremendously easy.

I used cashews as my mum had given me her leftovers from Christmas. I’m sure it would work with peanuts too. Or other nuts – let me know.

Ingredients
50g cashew nuts
50g sugar (I used golden caster)

Method

  1. Put nuts and sugar into a pan.
  2. Heat until the sugar caramelises.
  3. Pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  4. Let it set.

You might have noticed me struggling to string out the instructions. Really it’s just “mix, heat, cool”. You should wash your pan straight away though – if it cakes on it could be challenging.

To be fair there are probably better pans to use – I used a 30cm IKEA wok as we hadn’t done the washing up for a few days. I’m such a pro.

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