Archive of ‘Christmas recipes and gifts’ category

Fruit mince pies – part 1 (the fruit mince)

Fruit mince in a jar

Right. Let’s mince.

This is a two part series on making fruit mince pies. Firstly, you need to get your mince soaking. Preferably for at least one week, up to a month (OK OK, AT LEAST over night, all right?).

Then, once that’s done skip across and check out ‘Why making fruit mince pies will be the death of you – part 2 (the pastry)‘.

I do love eating fruit mince pies. Here’s what we’re aiming for: (more…)

Passionfruit melting moments

Through extensive research over the past 25 years it is apparent that everyone loves melting moments. The buttery goodness, with or without icing, is always a favourite.

Here’s the proof:

Case 1: as a young’n’ my Grandma used to make them to take to the oldies home that she volunteered at. And those oldies used to play seriously competitive bingo to win a parcel of them.

Case 2: as a young’n’ I used to go to the oldies home with my Gran and my brother and I would play seriously competitive bingo to try and win a parcel… even if afterwards my Gran made me give them back to the oldies.

Case 3: A semi-young’n’ I used to make them for my dad to take to work in exchange for a bit of pocket money, and the guys in the factory love them on smoko (for non Australians, smoko = morning tea break).

Yep, this is a biscuit for the oldies, young’n’s and the everyday man. Word.

I think there is something in that for all of us.

It should be noted that my Gran’s melting moments had a cocoa based chocolate icing in between them. My Dutch Grandfather had to have chocolate with everything. Not a bad thing. And then my Mum’s melting moments had a melted-chocolate based chocolate icing.

And now I bring you passionfruit.

Ingredients

250 grams butter
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup custard powder
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 ½ tablespoons of water

Icing

2 passionfruit
Tablespoon of butter
Approx 2 cups of icing sugar – have more on hand.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, line cookie trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars together.
  3. Add custard powder, flour, vanilla essence and water, mix well. The dough will be hold-it’s-own-shape thick.
  4. Take a teaspoon of mixture and roll into a ball. Get them round, you’ll need them a uniform shape for icing. Place on cookie trays and then squish down hard with fork.
  5. Bake for 8 – 10 mins until just golden on the bottom (check by lifting one up with a spatula).
  6. Cool on rack.
  7. To make icing: scoop passionfruit insides into a bowl, add a tablespoon of margarine. Add enough icing sugar so it’s as hold-it’s-own-shape as the dough was. This will be a lot.
  8. To ice, you should be able to put some icing on one biscuit, then roll in between two biscuits to make the icing round, then squish it. This will give it a nice shape.

Note: I did end up with a bit of left over icing, which suits me fine as it freezes well. It’s hard to the quantities just right. If you do, let me know and I’ll update the above.

Quantity: Makes 42 individual biscuits, so 21 sandwiched with passionfruit icing.

Healthy? *snort* maybe in opposites land. One of the biscuits is 86 calories. For the whole thing with icing it is about 223 (depending on your icing quantity).

Storage: No eggs, so they will last. Store in airtight container.

Cherry ripe slice

Like all good stories, we should start at the beginning:

1. Cherry ripe bars (not the slice below, I’m talking about an actual chocolate bar here) are Australia’s oldest chocolate bar. It’s not hard to be the oldest thing of anything in Australia, but when something is, we respect that.

Word.

2. Cadbury, the makers of the bar, describe it as “… ripe juicy cherries and moist coconut smothered in rich Old Gold dark chocolate …”

3. What the marketing team doesn’t mention is you can’t get them in London. This is a problem for me.

This recipe was printed in the The Guardian Weekend newspaper. so armed with three packets of glace cherries, I gave it a shot. It’s delicious. So good. I took it to a BBQ and another couple of Australians there said the taste was just the same as the chocolate bars.

Next time I make it though, I’m going to half the base. I’m more about the chocolate and the cherries. But other taste testers at the above BBQ liked the base as is. I’ll post an update once I try it.

Before I launch in to the recipe I would like to issue a challenge:

You can either chop up the cherries needed for this recipe by hand or use a food processor. If you have a child under 10 (who you trust with a knife) I think you should let them chop the cherries. Then email me at  a picture of the resulting cherries/child combo at clevermuffin@gmail.com. I promise to post it. *hehe*

Ingredients: Base
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
100 grams butter, softened
¼ cup cold milk

Ingredients: Cherry filling
600 grams glace cherries
125 grams sweetened condensed milk
1 ¾ cups desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Ingredients: Chocolate topping
250 grams dark chocolate
4 teaspoons olive oil

Method: Base
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160C fan-assisted, 350F, gas mark 4).
2. Take a 18cm square cake tin, preferably one with a removable base, and line bottom with baking paper. Spray with cooking oil for good measure.
3. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the butter until it’s worked through and all the lumps have gone.
4. Add the milk and mix to a soft, even dough.
5. Press firmly and evenly into the base of your prepared tin.
6. Set to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set and dry on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Method: Cherry filling
1. Put 400 grams of glace cherries in a food processor to mince very finely. I did start this process by hand (see above) which is possible with a bit of patience. But very sticky. I then borrowed a food processor from my neighbour. Much quicker.
2. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla until you have a smooth, pink paste.
3. Cut the remaining cherries in half, stir through, then spread evenly over your cooling base (doesn’t matter if it’s not completely cool).
Warning: even through the base has been cooling and the sides are cool, the bottom is still piping hot, don’t try and pick it up with your bare hands to put it back in the oven (guess how I learnt that lesson).
4. Bake at the same temperature for a further 25 minutes or until it starts to go golden on top.
5. Refrigerate until the slice is cold – about two to three hours.

Method: Chocolate topping
1. Place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread over the slice.
4. Refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut with a heated knife. This will take a bit of muscle. I had two tall cups full of boiling water to assist with the process.

But it’s worth it. Oh, it’s so worth it.

Cut in to 2cm squares, this makes 30.

Healthy? It’s no fruit salad love. 200 calories per slice.

Gluten free? The base is not. The GF recipes I have seen just substitute the flour with GF flour, but I haven’t tried it. With all the butter and sugar, I think it would be fine and bind well enough. Or, you could do something like:

Gluten free alternate for base
Ingredients
170 grams digestive type GF biscuits from the supermarket, crushed
60 grams butter, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa

Method
Combine the digestive biscuits, butter and cocoa together. Press firmly into the base of the tin. No need to cook it for this method. Then just add the cheery mixture on top and keep going as above.

Storage: In an airtight container.

Source: Modified from The Guardian Weekend “How to bake: cherry ripe bars” by Dan Lepard p. 63. 18 July 2011.

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