Hot weather? Who’d deny us a little treat or two to celebrate an actual, bona fide summer? Catherine Fulvio was here to give us a couple of ideas for those of us who feel like indulging in a few guilty pleasures.
Yes, these are the bad boys … and girls but it is one on the list of the top ten guilty pleasures! I prefer to use a light muscavado sugar for a lighter in colour caramel filling and I use dark chocolate for the topping as it works very well with the orange flavouring in the shortbread base.
For the shortbread
220g plain flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 medium orange, zest only
160g butter, softened
For the caramel
100g light or dark muscavado sugar
2 x 397g tins condensed milk
For the topping
200 dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with parchment.To make the shortbread, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest in a large bowl. Rub in the butter to resemble fine breadcrumbs and then knead the mixture to form a dough. Press it into the baking tin with the back of a spoon and very lightly prick the shortbread with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and lightly golden. Cool in the tin.In the meantime, to prepare the caramel, pour the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring most of the time until the mixture thickens. Cool slightly while still stirring and pour over the shortbread and leave to cool completely.For the topping, melt the chocolate in a bain marie (in a bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water). Pour the chocolate over the cold caramel and spread evenly with a spatula and leave to set completely. When set, cut into squares.
Tip: use roughly chopped hazelnuts to the shortbread for a little each crunch.
Cheesecake recipes can be adapted to make them a little less guilty! Change the cream to crème fraiche or even natural yoghurt and add plenty of berries which are so good for us anyway.
For the base
180g digestive biscuits
80g butter, melted
For the filling
3 sheets of gelatine, soaked in cold water for about 1 to 2 minutes
150ml double cream
250g low fat cream cheese
70g caster sugar
1 orange, zest only
200g strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
150g natural yoghurt
For the sauce (optional)
100g strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
1 orange, juice only
2 tbsp honey
100g strawberries, to decorate
5 to 6 small mint leaves, to decorate
Brush a 24cm loose base spring form cake tin with melted butter.Place the biscuits into a food processor and blender until fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl, add the melted butter and stir until combinedPress into the cake tin base, using the back of a spoon.Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat gently. Remove the sheets from the water and squeeze the excess water out and stir into the warm cream until dissolved.Whisk in the cream cheese, sugar and orange zest. Add ¾ of the strawberries to the cream cheese mix. Fold in the yoghurt. Pour half the mix into the biscuit base. Scatter the remaining ¼ strawberries over the cream mixture and pour the remaining mixture over.Chill for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.To make the sauce, add the strawberries, orange juice and honey to a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes until the strawberries are cooked. Place in the blender and puree until smooth, pour into a jug and set aside.To serve, run a warm knife around the edge of the tin, loosen the spring form tin and remove from the tin and place on a serving platter or cake stand. Arrange the strawberries on top with mint leaves and serve the sauce.
Tip: Amaretti biscuits make a lovely biscuit base.