I was chatting to my son about his school dinners earlier, and whilst things have come a long way since the spam fritters of my 80’s childhood, it seems that pudding wise at least, he’s missing out big time. His puddings tend to be ice cream, cookies, fruit and occasionally cake and custard, and there’s none of the cornflake pie or sprinkle cake from my childhood. I was telling him about chocolate concrete, something which was a regular and popular feature of our school dinner menu. It’s hard to describe, it’s sort of like chocolate shortbread but quite hard, and it was usually served with a bright pink custard. There was nothing else for it, I had to make a batch to show him what he was missing out on.
The chocolate concrete is really easy to make, and I’ve found an exceptionally good cheat for the custard, which is well worth a try. It’s a real store cupboard classic and it got the double thumbs up from my 11 year old, which is high praise indeed!
Chocolate Concrete with Pink Custard
For the chocolate concrete:
225g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
114g granulated sugar (plus a bit extra for sprinkling)
114g melted butter or margarine
For the pink custard:
600mls Strawberry milkshake (I used Yazoo)
3 egg yolks
25g caster sugar
2 teaspoons of cornflour
Red food colouring, a few drops
How to make your chocolate concrete:
Preheat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a 7 inch square baking tin.
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour in the melted butter or margarine and mix until it forms a pretty stiff dough.
Tip the mixture into the baking tin and press it down with the back of a spoon until it’s pretty evenly spread and is level on top.
Bake for around 30 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with some extra sugar. Leave to cool.
It’s best to cut it while it’s still a little bit warm and not fully cool and brittle. I found this cut into 9 good sized pieces of concrete. This can be eaten on it’s own, but it’s traditional to eat it with pink strawberry flavoured custard.
To make your pink custard:
Tip your strawberry milkshake into a saucepan and warm through. While the milk is coming up to temperature, mix the egg yolks, sugar, cornflower and a few drops of the red food colouring in a large bowl.
Once your milkshake is hot, using a ladle, add some of your hot milk to the paste and whisk thoroughly. Keep adding ladle after ladle until it’s all combined. At this point you might want to add a bit more food colouring to get the shade of pink you’re hoping for.
Return the mixture to the pan and whisk continuously over a low heat until it thickens. You’ll know it’s the right consistency if the custard coats the back of a metal spoon, if you draw a line in the custard on the back of the spoon and the line holds, you’ve got custard! Pour into a jug and get ready to serve it.
There’s something about pink custard that just brings a smile to your face. Replacing the milk in the standard custard recipe with milkshake is such a brilliant cheat, it really gives a great strawberry flavour, and although the natural pink of the milkshake is very pale and needs boosting with a bit of food colouring, it means it’s already well on the way to pink custard heaven. I urge you to try this recipe. It’s a belter!