Like much of the country, and the world, we spent yesterday using the excuse of the Royal Wedding for a village party on the green and a day off the daily grind. The weather behaved, raining during the wedding ceremony forcing my son and I from the garden to watch the pageantry, look at the dresses and see the kiss, then glorious sunshine for games and tea on the green in the afternoon. Much fun was had by all ages and the familiar discourse of conservative, village life in rural North Yorkshire was reaffirmed, so that we can now spend the intervening time diluting this partiotism down again with more liberal & progressive ideas until our next celebration of Englishness or Britishness or Northerness comes along sometime in the very near future.
But the question was what to make for the tea party. Everyone else had been making masses of sandwiches, sausage rolls and cupcakes; in fact, the tea tables groaned with far too much food. We were told not to make a cucumber or egg mayo sandwich, which was fine by me, and asked to make some biscuits or such like. As it was for the Royal Wedding, I recalled that Prince William had requested a tray bake for his stag party, being one of his favourites, so there was the hook – a simple chocolate traybake.
I trawled the web for ideas to find whether anyone had leaked the secret recipe but no such luck, but I found a few thoughts and from those have created my own ersatz Royal biscuity, chocolatey “no cook” tray bakes. They were very good and went down a treat.
Crunchie Chocolate Traybake
60g / 2 oz plain chocolate
60g / 2 oz milk chocolate
100g / 3½ oz / 1 stick unsalted butter
2tbsp golden syrup
200g / 7oz digestive biscuits
100g / 3½ oz sultanas
100g / 3½ oz Crunchie bars (honeycomb, cinder or sponge toffee)
1. Lightly grease a 17cm x 26cm (7 inch x 10 inch) baking tray and line the base with baking paper. Set aside.
2. Firstly, crush the digestive biscuits and cinder toffee. Put the digestives into a clear freezer bag and tie the end without much air in it. Then with the end of a rolling pin smash the digestives into small pieces. Do the same for the cinder toffee, but I like these in larger chunks for the texture; you can either do these in two batches or as one and then halve the amount – your proportions do not need to be precise, so don’t get hung up on the details. Mix the Crunchie bar with the sultanas.
3. Secondly, place the plain and dark chocolate for the base in a heatproof or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the golden syrup and butter. Melt these all together, stirring occassionally with a metal spoon.
4. When melted, add the digestive biscuits, sultanas and honeycomb and mix all thoroughly together. Make sure that everything has been coated with the chocolate mix.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tray and put into fridge to set while you prepare the topping.
6. For the topping, melt the dark chocolate, then mix in the remaining crushed up Crunchie bars. Take the tray out of the fridge and cover the base evenly with the chocolate topping.
7. Leave in the fridge for about 1 hour to fully set, then turn out onto a chopping board. With a sharp knife, cut into small rectangles of about 1½ cm x 2cm (½ inch x 1 inch).
Rich Tea Chocolate Traybake
225g / 8 oz rich tea biscuits
50g / 1¾ oz / 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
125g / 4½ oz golden caster sugar
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
100g / 3½ oz dark chocolate
1. Lightly grease a small round cake tin (15cm, 6 inch in diameter), with a removable base. Place a circle of baking parchment in the base. Set aside.
2. Crunch up the rich tea biscuits into small pieces, leaving some that are larger at about 1cm / ½ inch. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, then add the egg and whisk again.
3. Break the dark chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl and melt over simmering water. When melted, add the sugar-butter-egg mix to the chocolate and stir in until melted and thickened to a light custard texture, which will take a couple of minutes.
4. Stir up the broken biscuit pieces until throughly coated. Transfer the chocolatey biscuit mix into the cake tin, making sure that the pieces are squashed right into all the gaps to make a firm, continuous base. Put into the fridge for about 1 hour until thoroughly set.
5. Remove the base from the fridge and leave at room temperature while you do prepare the dark chocolate. Break the dark chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl and melt over simmering water. While it is melting, gently slide the prepared biscuit base out of the cake tin. Spread the melted chocolate over the base. smoothing until nice and even. Put into the fridge for about ½ an hour.
6. For the final flourish, melt the white chocolate and then drizzle over the top of the dark chocolate. Place it all back into the fridge again for 2 hours to set fully. With a sharp knife, cut into small shapes of about 1½ cm x 2cm (½ inch x 1 inch); I know that it it is a circle so it doesn’t quite work but that gives the cook loads of scraps to test for deliciousness.