Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cost-cutting Corners

This recipe is one of my cheat's recipes, to cut costs.
cheat's condensed milk:
2 0z (50g) dried milk powder
3 oz (75g) icing sugar
2 fl oz (50ml) boiling water
2 oz (50g) butter or margarine, softened
Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl and chill in the fridge. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Children might like to have a go at this - just make sure their hands are clean before they start. Also an adult supervises the initial heating of the butter. Before I had to cut down my sugar intake, these were one of my favourite sweets.
coffee creams: makes approx 3 dozen
1 oz (25g) butter
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tblsp milk
8 oz (225g) icing sugar
Put the butter into a pan and heat gently until melted. Add the coffee and milk and blend until the coffee has dissolved. Stir in the icing sugar, a few ounces at a time, until well blended and has formed a firm dough. Turn out onto a board dusting with icing sugar and knead until smooth. Roll out until an eighth of an inch thick (3mm) and cut into small circles*. Knead back the scraps and repeat until all the dough has been used up.
Place on a baking sheet and leave for several hours to firm up. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.
Note:* find something to use as a cutter that has a diameter of around one inch. Possibly use the top of a sherry glass, or even cut the top off a plastic soft drinks bottle and use the open end as a cutter. If you wish, roll it out slightly thicker and cut into three-quarter inch (2 cm) lengths and coat completely with either white or dark chocolate to give a coffee cream centre. If doing this, they will not need to be dried out, and will keep for up to two weeks in a cool place (not the fridge).

In the chapter dealing with autumn, and the section to do with Halloween, have re-discovered my recipe for doughnuts that can be made without yeast. Have been searching for that for months.
American Doughnuts:
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) granulated sugar
1 oz (25g) soft margarine
1 egg, beaten
4 fl oz (120ml) milk (approx)
sunflower oil for frying
caster sugar and cinnamon
Sift together the flour and baking powder, stir in the sugar and rub in the margarine. Mix in the beaten egg and enough milk to make a firmish dough. Roll out on a floured board to quarter inch thick (5mm) and cut into ring (removing the centres with a much smaller cutter).
Heat the oil in a frying pan to approx 1" depth, and fry the doughnuts - a few at a time - until golden, turning once or twice. Drain well on kitchen paper, then immediately toss in caster sugar mixed with a little cinnamon.

Hands Across the Ocean Tart:
12 oz (300g) shortcrust pastry
1 thick slice bread
4 oz (100g) pecan nuts
9 oz (250g) golden syrup
2 apples, peeled, cored and dice
zest 1 small orange
Roll out the pastry and line a 9" (23cm) tart tin. Blitz the bread (including the crusts) in a food processor with half the pecan nuts until coarse crumbs.
Put the syrup into a pan and heat gently, then add the bread/nut mixture, the apple and the orange zest. Mix well together, then stir in the remaining pecans, chopped in half..
Spread the mixture over the pastry base and bake at 190C, 170F,, gas 3 for half an hour. Serve warm or cold with either ice-cream, custard or thick cream (whipped or pouring).

The mention of pecans reminds me also of a similar nut - the walnut (the latter being used originally in the above dish). Either or both can be eaten as a festive 'nibble' when dealt with in the following way:
Sugared Walnuts or Pecans:
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
2 tblsp water
4 oz (100g) walnut halves or pecans
extra 2 tblsp caster sugar
Put the sugar in a small pan and add the water. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then raise the heat and boil until the syrup is turning golden. Remove from heat and stir in the nuts plus the extra sugar.
Working quickly, spoon the nuts onto a non-stick paper lined baking sheet, keeping the nuts slightly apart from each other, and leave to set. Store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks.