In Sydney, Christmas falls in the middle of summer; this also happens to be when cherries are at their best. My recipe this week uses dried cherries, which I managed to track down at a local health food store, and pistachios, for their green christmasy colour. This recipe makes a lot of fudge, so it is perfect for sharing and / or giving as home-made gifts to friends and family. I ended up making a double batch so that I would have plenty to go around. I wrapped squares of fudge in clear cello gift wrap then placed them in gift bags and boxes as presents.
With the salt quantity specified below, this is specifically for salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt proceed with caution and only use 1/4 of a teaspoon or less.
What I was cooking this time last year: Raspberry, Goat Cheese and Pistachio Salad
Chocolate Fudge with Cherries and Pistachios
- 75g butter
- 395g tin condensed milk
- 250g brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 220g dark chocolate
- 100g pistachios
- 125g dried cherries
- Cooking oil spray to grease your tin
- Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
- Transfer the pistachios to an oven proof dish and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Line a tray with grease-proof paper and spray with cooking oil.
- Add the butter, condensed milk, vanilla, salt and brown sugar to a saucepan.
- Stir the saucepan of fudge mixture over a medium heat until the butter is melted and the fudge starts to thicken.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir to combine.
- Add the cherries and pistachios to the chocolate fudge and stir to combine.
- Pour the fudge into the lined tray and refrigerate until cool.
- Remove the fudge from the tray and peel off the grease-proof paper.
- Cut the fudge into serving size pieces. Your fudge is ready to serve or wrap for gifts. Enjoy.
What are your favourite christmas flavours? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Some of the first recipes I learnt to perfect were from my mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection. It seems many Aussies have a soft spot for the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection, and many of the recipes have stood the test of time. This caramel slice is always popular.
To create a gluten free version of the slice and ensure none of my guests had to miss out, I used a biscuit crumb base instead of the details prescribed in the original recipe. I blitzed a 200g packet of gluten free biscuits with 100g of softened butter in a food processor, pressed this into the bottom of the lined baking tray and put in the fridge to chill before adding the caramel and chocolate layers.
In Australia, condensed milk currently comes in 400ml cans, I’ve included the 440ml can below as specified in the original recipe, but when I make the slice I just use the readily available 400ml can. Following the current trend for salted caramel, I added a generous pinch of salt to my caramel as it was cooking. The coconut specified refers to desiccated coconut. I also added extra chocolate, increasing to 200g of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil instead of vegetable shortening for the topping. If you are using cooking oil, I recommend you select a neutral flavoured oil, I used rice bran oil. If you feel so inclined, you could scatter crumbled salt fakes over the top of the chocolate topping as extra decoration.
I recommend you bring your finished slice to room temperature before slicing if you have refrigerated it, otherwise the chocolate topping will be prone to cracking as you chop. The slice is quite rich, I suggest you cut into dainty portions – you can always go back for seconds or thirds if you still have room.
What I was cooking this time last year: Choc Malt Brownies
Carmel Chocolate Slice
* This recipe is the original Caramel Chocolate Slice recipe published by The Australian Women’s Weekly recipe cards.
- 125g butter
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- Sift flour into bowl, add sugar and coconut, stir until combined.
- Melt butter in pan, add to dry ingredients; mix well.
- Press into greased 28cm x 18cm (11 in x 7 in) lamington tin.
- Bake in moderate oven 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, spread with prepared Caramel.
- Return to oven for further 10 minutes.
- When cold, spread with Topping.
- Cut into squares when set.
- 440g (14 oz) can condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 30g (1 oz) butter
- Place all ingredients into saucepan, stir over low heat until caramel has thickened, bringing slowly to boil, remove from heat.
- Place 125g (4 oz) chopped dark chocolate and 30g (1 oz) solid white vegetable shortening in saucepan over hot water, stir until melted.
What is your favourite retro recipe? Has this post inspired any new (or old) ideas?
One of my all time favourite desserts is Nigella’s Molten Chocolate Babycakes. I wanted to play with this recipe and come up with a caramel version.
The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously.
Babycakes are best cooked to order just before you are ready to serve. The original chocolate and these caramel puddings can be frozen before cooking (if you happen to have any such thing as extras), so that you have them on standby for emergencies. You will just need to add a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time if cooking straight from the freezer. You also may need to play with the cooking times depending on your oven, you want a cooked pudding that will turn out of its mould intact but retaining its gooey centre. Delicious with whipped cream or ice-cream.
What I was cooking this time last year: Pumpkin Cannelloni
Salted Caramel Babycakes
* This recipe was adapted from a Molten Chocolate Babycakes recipe by Nigella Lawson. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.
- 50g butter, softened
- 350g white chocolate
- 150g brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50g plain flour
- Cooking oil spray to grease your cake tin
- Add the white chocolate and brown sugar to a large bowl.
- Suspend the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and gently heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
- Add the butter, vanilla, eggs, salt and plain flour to your food processor bowl. Blend until combined.
- Add the chocolate sugar mixture to the food processor and blend until combined.
- Spray 6 moulds with cooking spray, and you may want to line the bottom of each mould with a disc of grease-proof paper cut to size.
- Divide the batter between the 6 moulds.
- When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven on to 200°C.
- Cook your baby cake(s) for 12 – 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen from the mould, then tip out onto small plates or shallow bowls.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream. Enjoy.
What is your favourite gooey recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Thanks largely to the Olympics, the world seems to be fascinated with all things British at the moment. In keeping with British mania, I wanted to share with you a British dessert I discovered when I was living in London – let me introduce you to the wonders of Banoffee Pie. Banoffee pie refers to banana toffee or banana caramel pie.
I know that the sound of caramel out of a can is extremely unrefined, but using the pre-made caramel does away with the need to boil a tin of condensed milk for hours to end up with the same result. If you wanted to take even further shortcuts, you could use pre-prepared pastry cases or a biscuit crumb base.
I have added an Australian twist to the recipe by including ground wattle seed, a native Australian spice. Wattle seed provides a flavour profile similar to chocolate and / or coffee and is available from Herbie’s Spices. I’d been looking for an excuse to use my ground wattle seed for a little while and this recipe created the perfect opportunity. If you don’t have ground wattle seed you could substitute 1/2 a teaspoon of ground nutmeg in the pastry.
How many pies you get out of this recipe depends on how big your pie tin(s) are, or you could use a muffin or cupcake pan to create mini pie cases. Any leftover uncooked pastry can be frozen for use at a later date. You may want to prepare the individual components and leave assembly until the last minute to prevent your pastry cases from going soggy.
- 125g butter, softened
- 50g raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons ground wattle seed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 250g plain flour
- 2 x generous pinch of salt
- 380g can Nestle top’n’fill caramel
- 300ml Cream
- 50g Dark chocolate
- In a food processor mix the butter, flour, a pinch of salt, ground wattle seed and sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs [or you could do this by hand by rubbing small cubes of cold butter into the dry ingredients]. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
- Add the beaten egg a little at a time and combine until the mixture just comes together as soft dough. If the mixture is still a little dry after adding the egg, add a little cold water until the mixture just comes together.
- Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge to rest and chill.
- Once the pastry is chilled, roll batches of it out, and line your greased pastry tin(s).
- Bake pastry in a 180°C oven until crisp. The time will vary depending on what sort of pie tin you are using, but as a guide allow approximately 20 minutes. Allow your pastry cases to cool.
- Transfer the caramel to a bowl. Add 25mls or 1 tablespoon of the cream and a generous pinch of salt. Whip until the caramel is smooth with no lumps.
- Whip the remaining cream in a separate bowl until thick.
- Grate chocolate and add the extra teaspoon of ground wattle seed. Mix to combine the two ingredients.
- Fill your pastry case with slices of banana, add caramel, then whipped cream – sprinkle with the chocolate wattle seed mix. Your pie is ready to serve. Enjoy!
What is your favourite British recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?