Tag Archives: school dinners

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

I think I sometimes look back on school dinners with misty eyes. I’m not sure my memory of them being the highlight of my school day is always accurate. In reality I think we remember the highlights more than the low points. I don’t think many people look back with much fondness at bowls of rice pudding and prunes; it’s more the thought of cornflake tart and chocolate cake with chocolate custard which bring back the good memories.

I’m not sure modern day school dinners are based on quite so much stodge, but sometimes stodge is good and you need a comforting hot pudding and custard. I’m usually a packet custard kind of girl, but this chocolate custard recipe is really simple and it works so well with the chocolate cake.

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

When I shared my photo of this chocolate cake with chocolate custard on Facebook, there were many people saying it needed to be green, mint flavoured custard, or even pink strawberry custard. I think all schools were different, mine did chocolate crunch and mint custard, something I might make at some point soon.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

Ingredients
250g baking margarine or unsalted butter
250g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
100mls milk, warmed slightly

For the chocolate custard
300ml whole milk
300ml double cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cornflour

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

How to make your Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a square 20cm cake or brownie tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together until soft, light and fluffy; I use an electric hand mixer for this, but a wooden spoon or a stand mixer work just as well.

Add the eggs one by one, beat well after adding each egg. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the mixing bowl and mix well, once combined, add the chocolate chips or grated chocolate and stir through.

Add the vanilla extract and enough of the warm milk to create a smooth mixture with a dropping consistency. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once baked, pull it out of the oven and leave to cool a little on a baking tray. This cake is good served warm or cold.

To make the custard, heat the milk and cream together in a saucepan until it is almost boiling, stir often. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar, cocoa and cornflour, then carefully and gradually pour the hot milk and cream over the top. This bit is really important as you don’t want the hot milk to scramble the eggs, so make sure you whisk it really well and add the hot milk gradually. Whisk well, then return to the pan.

Cook the mixture over a low-ish heat, stirring constantly until it forms a custard that thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.

To serve, cut into 8 equal squares and serve warm with the chocolate custard poured over the top. School uniform optional!

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Custard

Easter Treats: Peppermint Crunch Slices

Peppermint Crunch is one of the things I remember from school. A couple of times a month the dinner ladies would make trays of peppermint crunch for pudding, it was a highlight. Last year we visited Keswick Market and a local bakery had a stall selling cakes and tray bakes, lo and behold there was the Peppermint Crunch I used to love as a child. I bought some, shared it with the boys and I’ve been wanting to make my own ever since.

Easter Treats: Peppermint Crunch Slices

Last week Beech’s Fine Chocolates sent me some mini chocolate Easter eggs to try out. When I got them and I saw there was a mint crisp flavour, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. This is how this Easter version of the Peppermint Crunch Slice was born.

If you love mint, you will love Peppermint Crunch slices. They are easy to make, but there are a few steps and you need to factor in chilling time. It’s a nice thing to make with kids too. Top with some Dark Chocolate Mint Crisp Mini Eggs and you’ve got yourself a minty treat and a half!

Peppermint Crunch Slices

Ingredients:

For the base:
130g plain flour
80g desiccated coconut
25g cornflakes, crushed
90g golden caster sugar
30g cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter or baking margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peppermint Layer:
200g icing sugar, sifted
35ml milk
8 – 10 drops of Peppermint Extract Spice Drops (I use Holy Lama)

Chocolate Layer:
200g milk chocolate (or dark if you prefer)
70ml milk
80g icing sugar, sifted

Easter Treats: Peppermint Crunch Slices

How to make Peppermint Crunch Slices:

Pre-heat your oven to 180° and grease and line a high sided baking tray, I used this one.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, remember to sift the cocoa powder and the flour. Melt the butter or margarine (this took about 45 seconds in my microwave, but keep an eye on it) and pour it into the dry mix, add the vanilla and mix everything together. Tip it into your lined baking tin (if you put baking paper on the bottom it will come out easier) and press down with the back of a metal spoon. Make sure it’s all well compacted. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the baking tin. Once it’s cool you can make the peppermint layer. Mix the sifted icing sugar, milk and peppermint drops in a bowl until smooth. It wants to be a fairly firm mix, because you don’t want it oozing out of the sides when you take it out of the tin. Taste the mix and add more peppermint if you think it needs it. Pour the peppermint mixture over the top of your base and smooth out as best you can. I did my best then shook the pan to help it level out. Put this in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up.

Once the peppermint layer has chilled, you can turn your attention to the chocolate layer. This is pretty easy, you can either melt your chocolate in a bain marie, or very carefully in the microwave. If you’re doing it in the microwave, tread carefully as it’s very easy to over do it and the chocolate could go grainy.

Melt the chocolate, stir in the sifted icing sugar and add the milk and mix well. Pour over the top of the peppermint layer and smooth over. I used a knife to mark lines where I would cut it into slices once it was set. Using these lines as a guide, I placed a mint egg half on the top of each of these slices. Put the peppermint crunch in the fridge for at least an hour to set.

Easter Treats: Peppermint Crunch Slices

When you’re ready to eat it, carefully remove the peppermint crunch from the tin and with a sharp knife, cut it into slices. Serve with a big mug of coffee and enjoy this school dinner classic!

If you enjoyed this, you might also like to try this Cornflake Tart recipe.

Easter Treats: Peppermint Crunch Slices

Recipe: Cornflake Tart – a school dinner treat

School dinners in the 1980’s were never really going to win many awards for excellence. I do have fond memories of a few select dishes – spam fritters and mashed potato being one. But mostly I remember grey slivers of liver in a murky sauce and most puddings served with a side of tinned prunes. One stand out dish I remember with significant fondness is Cornflake Tart, or cornflake pie.

Recipe: Cornflake Tart - a school dinner treat

Cornflake Tart is simple, cheap, sweet and filling. There’s not a lot that’s healthy about it, but for nostalgia’s sake I had to recreate it. Served with a ladle of steaming custard, this school dinner treat really hit the spot. Crisp shortcrust pastry, a thick layer of raspberry jam topped with sticky golden syrup smothered cornflakes. Was that the bell for dinnertime?

It’s best if you can make this ahead to allow the golden syrupy cornflakes to set a little, but even if you can’t wait, it’s so good impatience can be forgiven!

Recipe: Cornflake Tart - a school dinner treat

Easy Recipe: Cornflake Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
114g plain flour
56g butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
110g golden syrup
80g butter
30g sugar
Cornflakes
100g raspberry or strawberry jam

Method:
Put the flour and butter in the mixing bowl and rub the flour and butter together with your finger tips until they look like breadcrumbs. Add the water but do not make it wet or sticky. Knead gently together and wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.

Roll out your pastry and line a greased tart tray with the pastry and trim the edges. Prick the pastry all over and bake blind, for around 20 minutes at Gas Mark 6/400’F/200’C/180 Fan.

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, remove the pan from the heat then stir in the cornflakes.

Spread a thin layer of jam over the bottom of the pastry case and tip the cornflake and syrup mixture evenly on top of the jam. If the jam is too thick to spread, warm it slightly in microwave for a few seconds.

Put the tart back in the oven for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to set. Serve in thick slices with as much custard as you can cope with.

Recipe: Cornflake Tart - a school dinner treat

School dinner bliss, and you don’t hear that every day!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like some of my other cakes, bakes, puddings and pies which you can find here.

Recipe: Cornflake Tart - a school dinner treat

My Sunday Photo 28.2.16

This Sunday may I present to you my Manchester Tart….

Manchester Tart

I’m doing a spot of recipe writing for something which I can tell you more about in April, and this is the happy and rather delicious result of one of those recipes.

My Grandma taught me how to cook, she was a school cook and a pastry chef, so this, the famous Manchester Tart was one of her favourite things to make. I followed her handwritten recipe in a rather battered handwritten book and this was the delicious outcome.

If you’ve never had Manchester Tart before, it is shortcrust pastry blind baked, smothered with a layer of raspberry jam, topped with creme patissiere and sprinkled with toasted dessicated coconut. Some recipes (some very wrong recipes IMHO) include a layer of sliced banana on top of the jam, and most use much more coconut than I did, but it’s all personal taste.

Regardless of whether you are pro or anti banana, this Manchester Tart was a fine tribute to my Grandma, and I like to think she’d be tucking into seconds right now if she were still with us.