The best tiffin ever may sound like a bit of a tall claim, but I consider myself somewhat of an expert: this sour cherry and almond chocolate biscuit cake really is a force to be reckoned with. Think crunchy biscuits combined with roasted almonds and sour cherries covered in dark milk chocolate mixed with amaretto, butter and a little syrup. There, I’ve given the game away already.
Last year I asked CT what he would like for his birthday. A trifle was his response. OK. I duly made a trifle and very nice it was too, but this year I didn’t ask. I know he’s very fond of tiffin, otherwise known as biscuit cake or refrigerator cake. If Prince William can have one for his wedding, I couldn’t see any reason why CT shouldn’t have one for his birthday.
After all those amazing layer cakes in March, I thought something a little simpler might be in order this month. No bake chocolate treats it is. Think chocolate cornflake nests for Easter, tiffin to use up all those Easter chocolate leftovers or raw energy balls for a healthy post Easter detox.
Although I prefer less rather than more sugar in my confectionary, there is no doubt about it, I have a sweet tooth – a sweet tooth combined with a love of chocolate. And I am not alone it seems. According to the Belgian chocolate company Callebaut, two out of three people are more likely to choose a chocolate dessert over a non-chocolate one.
Well, that temptress Tango Like Raindrops from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, made this chocolate biscuit cake for We Should Cocoa last month and I just couldn’t resist. If you haven’t seen the mango round-up yet, do take a look.
I have seen the recipe many a time in my copy of Green and Black’s Unwrapped, but was always put off by the use of a raw egg. However, when I thought about it, I realised the egg should be pasteurised by the heat of the chocolate mixture and indeed when I read the recipe properly, that is exactly what it says. I decided to use cranberries and ginger rather than cherries and add a little Amaretto to the mix. I also used my newly created dandelion honey rather than golden syrup. Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe!
This is how I made
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- Melted 125g unsalted butter in a medium size pan over low heat with 3 tbsp dandelion honey and 200g dark chocolate (G&B 70%).
- Beat in a medium egg until well incorporated.
- Added a slug of Amaretto
- Added 100g of roughly broken digestive biscuits (should have been 50g, but I do like digestives in tiffin).
- Stirred in 50g whole walnuts, 50g raisins, 25g died cranberries and 25g crystallised ginger.
- Poured into a lined 20 cm sq tin and placed in the fridge to set for three hours.
- Cut into 16 squares.
This should come with a serious health warning: it is very addictive and if you have as little willpower as I do, a locked fridge might be a good idea. Despite it’s deliciousness, it was messy to eat with a very soft texture which melted all over our hands. I’m glad I’ve finally tried making tiffin with an egg, but I think I will stick to my firmer and egg fee version in the future.
It’s time for that most exciting of blog challenges Random Recipes again. This month, Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has taken us back to the beginning with his simple, but not necessarily easy, formula of picking a book randomly and then picking a random page number. With a hundred and one things to do, I was somewhat trepidacious as to what I might be landed with. As usual, CT did the honours and came up with Cox Cookies & Cake by Eric Lanlard. I used my new method of including all of my baking books as well as my chocolate ones: if I don’t get a chocolate recipe right away I just keep turning the pages until I come to the first one that includes chocolate. Well CT picked page 78 – fat-free jasmine & violet cupcakes. Hmmm, no chocolate there. Nothing on the next page either or the next one, nothing in fact until page 91 which was for chocolate icing. Well, much as I enjoy a good icing, I didn’t fancy just eating a bowl of that on its own. Hmmm, ah, light bulb moment!
|Let’s start from the very beginning|
|Although I baked the biscuits for the Tiffin, this is not required as any bought biscuits can easily be substituted.|
Whilst reviewing Honeybuns gluten free baking recently and pondering on what exactly I was going to make first, I spotted a new challenge. Sarah Maison Cupcake’s new Zero Baking Required made the decision for me: chocolate orange tiffin. Actually, it would be chocolate lemon tiffin as I had some lemon curd that I’d made a while ago and it needed using up. So to get Dom’s random recipe into the mix, it was a simple substitution of the Honeybun’s chocolate topping for Eric Lanlard’s one, or ahem, one based on Eric’s. His used single cream which I didn’t have, but I did have some double cream. I decided to make only half the quantity of tiffen stated in the book as it did seem rather generous and similarly half the quantity of icing. But first I had to make some custard creams.
This is how I made Gluten Free Chocolate Lemon Tiffin:
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a pan with 2.5 tbsp of golden syrup and half 1 scant tbsp of cocoa.
- Crushed 31 of the heart shaped custard biscuits I’d just made so lovingly with the end of a rolling pin.
- Poured in the melted butter mixture and stirred until all incorporated. At this point I was rather concerned that the mixture was way too dry and wouldn’t hold together. But I decided to trust the recipe and stick with it.
- Pressed this into the base of a 21 cm (8″) sq tin lined with baking paper.
- Placed in the fridge for 1/2 an hour to set.
- Creamed 25g unsalted butter with 100g icing sugar until incorporated.
- Beat in 2 heaped tbsp of home made lemon curd.
- Spread this over the biscuit base.
- Placed back in the fridge whilst getting on with the next stage.
- Heated 100ml double cream in a pan until just about boiling.
- Poured this over 125g chopped dark chocolate (25g G&B Maya Gold & 100g G&B 72%).
- Stirred in 25g unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp of orange flower water.
- Poured this over the lemon cream layer.
- Placed back in the fridge to set.
- Slid out of the tin and cut into 16 squares.
I was very glad I trusted the recipe, as the tiffin held together really well and cut beautifully. Even using half the amount, I still got 16 decent sized squares. Using double cream for the chocolate icing worked well, as it set more solidly than I suspect it would have done using single cream. These not only looked appealing, but were delicious too. They were not overly sweet, tasted of chocolate covered lemon sherbet and had a great contrast of textures and flavours – although the orange was rather lost to the lemon. The smooth chocolate, creamy zingy lemon and a really nice crunch from the biscuits worked very well. CT thought these looked very similar to millionaire’s shortbread but were far superior. The sweet cloying quality he associated with them was absent and he found them much more refreshing.
As this was the first time I’ve ever made my own biscuits for a refrigerator cake, I am also submitting these to Javelin Warrior’s Made With Love Mondays where everything must be made from scratch – even the lemon curd was my own.
Well I’m sure most of you will have heard of the French TV pastry chef Eric Lanlard and Baking Mad. Even I have heard of both him and the programme and I don’t have a television. The Baking Mad website is full of recipe ideas as well as tips, tricks and competitions. I was asked to choose a recipe from this site and make it – chocolate honeycomb squares it had to be.
I may not have managed to do much in the way of Christmas baking this year, but I did get to make a rather rich and fruity version of a “no bake cake” today. We may not have mince pies to offer the good folk who drop in to alleviate some of CTs boredom as he continues to languish on the sofa, but I do now have an alternative Christmas offering!
- Melted 200g Maya Gold (dark orange spiced chocolate) with 4oz unsalted butter and 4 tbsp double cream.
- In a large bowl, broke up 8oz digestive biscuits into small pieces (but not crumbs) with the end of a rolling pin.
- Added 4oz walnut pieces (again not too small), 2oz goji berries, 2oz crystallised ginger – chopped and 2oz dried figs – chopped.
- Mixed in chocolate mixture until all thoroughly combined, but taking care not to break up the biscuits and other pieces too much.
- Turned out into a 9″ sq cake thingy and left in the cold for a couple of hours. Normally, one would expect this to go into the fridge to set, but our kitchen is so cold, fridge was not needed.
- When set cut into 24 rectangular pieces.