Sunday 31 March 2013

DIY Tiffin

I recently discovered that the Buttery (or canteen) in my college produce what they call 'Homerton Tiffin'. Having enjoyed it with a cup of tea on several occasions, I decided to break my usual aversion to making cakes and try to work out the recipe so I could enjoy it without having to drive to Cambridge. I found a couple of tiffin recipes online which I have taken, merged and modified to come up with my own version.

I have tried a couple of incarnations (so far) and I made the one below for a cake sale at school last week. As I was asked for the recipe a couple of times, I thought I would write it down - rather than making it up as I went along - and share it here as an Easter present for those people who have eschewed chocolate during Lent.

The recipe is very flexible, and I would encourage people to experiment and try different (or additional) fillings or quantities depending on personal preferences; I feel that the ingredients marked with an asterisk are all optional or replaceable, or personal favourites could simply be added.
Time: 30 minutes preparation, cooking, and washing up plus two hours cooling
  • 200g good quality plain chocolate (74% coco) broken into pieces
  • 400g good quality milk chocolate (35% coco) broken into pieces
  • 150g unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 125g plain digestive biscuits crushed to crumbs (a few small chunks will be fine)
  • 135g bag of Maltesers
  • 2 regular (70g) Mars bars*, each chopped into 10-12 pieces
  • 30g mini marshmallows*
  • 25ml dark rum*
  • 20g raisins or sultanas
  • 23cm (9") square silicon baking tray/cake tin (or metal tray/tin lined with baking parchment).
  1. Place all the chocolate, butter and golden syrup and rum into a heat-proof bowl over a pan a barely simmering water and melt everything while stirring together. It is important not to let the chocolate get too hot, so do not try to speed this process up or it will go grainy and need a lot of faffing to try and rescue it.
  2. When the chocolate is all melted, take it off the heat and add the biscuit crumbs and raisins to the chocolate; stir the mixture until all the crumbs and fruit are incorporated.
  3. Return the bowl to the pan to warm the chocolate up a little again and then remove, add about two-thirds of the Maltesers, and the marshmallows and the chopped Mars bars to the bowl. Stir everything and try to ensure all the bits of chocolate are spread evenly throughout the mixture (try to do this as quickly as possible so that the pieces of Mars bar remain relatively whole).
  4. Tip the mixture into the baking tray and spread around to get an equal distribution. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the remaining Maltesers and marshmallows over the top and push them gently into the mix so they are stuck in but proud of the surface.
  5. Cover the tray with tin foil or cling film and chill for a couple of hours to set the mixture before turning it out and cutting it into the desired sizes.
In terms of the optional items and other things I am considering trying, I have my eye on Twixes and Milky Ways instead of Mars Bars, the rum could be replaced by Brandy or Cointreau for an orangey fix, cranberries could replace the raisins, and nuts could be added for those to whom fruit 'n' nut is not anathema. In short, experiment. Mixing chocolate and biscuits is never going to be a disaster!

I have called this 'Tiffin', but whether that is an accurate description, I cannot say: it was suggested that the marshmallows make it 'Rocky Road', and that the rum and raisins make it a healthy snack for alcoholics.

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