Shorter and Sweeter
Here are two easy-method desserts, one an old-fashioned, inexpensive family favourite. The other, being my version of something really luxurious, won't cost a lot either.
Queen of Puddings - works out at under 15p a portion
3 oz breadcrumbs
2 eggs - separated/ 2 tsp. each granulated and caster sugar
1/2 pint boiling milk/ 1 tblsp. jam
Pour the milk over the crumbs. Stir in the gran. sugar, the beaten egg yolks and lemon zest.
Pour into a pie dish and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour. Remove and spread the jam over the pudding which will be softish. Beat the egg whites with the caster sugar until stiff and pile onto the mixture. Sprinkle over a very little caster sugar and return to oven for a further 15 minutes until meringue is golden and crisp.
Tips: Stale bread soaks up liquid more easily than very fresh. Save money by whizzing granulated sugar in a blender to make caster sugar (saves 3p per kg) and whiz further to make icing sugar (saves 22p).
In the traditional recipe a type of Madeira cake is used with ricotta cheese and double cream. To cap it all the finished dessert is spread with a rich mocha butter cream. Having to scrape the barrel and use what I had, my version turned out so well and is so much enjoyed by everyone that I feel my economising has done us all a favour.
1 pack trifle sponges (or use home-made fatless sponge cake)
1 250g carton curd or cottage cheese (see tip below)
1 tblsp. candied peel /1 tsp. icing sugar/ 1/2 small carton of mandarin yoghurt
1 tblsp. chocolate flakes (or grated choc) /1 -2 tblsp. orange liqueur (or orange juice)
Tip: rub cottage cheese through a sieve, or freeze - in which case it breaks down naturally.
Put the cheese into a bowl and mix in the yoghurt. Stir in the candied peel, sugar and the chocolate plus 1 tsp. of the liqueur.
Cut the trifle sponges in half lengthways to make thin slices. Line a 1lb loaf tin with cling-film and cover the bottom with one layer of sponge slices, sugar side down. Make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle over half of the remaining liqueur. Spoon over half the cheese mixture. Top this with the softer (bottom half) of the sponges. Sprinkle over rest of liqueur and cover with remaining cheese filling. Finish with a final layer of sponge, fill gaps with broken bits. Fold over clingfilm, press down lightly and cover with a fitting piece of card. Place on weights ( small cans of beans for example) or a similar sized tin filled with water. Chill overnight (this enables the sponge to soak up any liquid from the cheese which helps to thicken the filling) . When ready to serve, fold back clingfilm and invert dessert onto a place, peeling off clingfilm. Serve sliced with pouring cream.
Into a clean jar put thin strips of orange rind (pith removed) and the juice of one whole large orange (measure this) plus 1 heaped tblsp of caster sugar. Top up with brandy - at least double the amount of the juice. Cover, give it a good shake and store in a dark place for a month, giving it an occasional shake. Strain to use/drink, but return the shreds to the jar for these can later be added to a beef casserole or a fresh fruit salad.