Sunday, July 31, 2011

the brilliant ian and that recipe (if you couldn't get at it)

i have to thank ian for sorting out the card machine. i've written about occam's razor before, so won't bore you again, but it appears that when transferring to BT thay put loads of stuff on your line that you don't ask for, like call waiting. the small distortions caused by these 'services' interfere with the card machine, causing it not to work. ian came in and disabled these by doing something with the phone (i think #42 was something) and it's working again. hurray.

for those people who couldn't view my recipe for the napoleon biscuits that appeared on the previous blog, this is it.

for the recipe, this is one that i'm happy with. it's a bit fiddly but worth it. i first saw the technique used by john burton race on the great british menu and decided to give it a go. the problem was that he used some kind of fondant icing and melted that, which gives a clear finish, i just burnt loads of pans trying to do the same and ended, convinced that his icing was different to the rubbish that i had bought in town. the recipe is for the biscuits in the napoloeon but the start of it will allow you to do loads of stuff.

start by making a caramel from caster sugar (say 200g), 30ml of water and a teaspoon of glucose, or golden syrup. this will stop it from crystallising. you need to keep it on a moderate heat but don't leave it. first it will melt, then it will start to darken on the edges. you are looking for a deep brown but one that is not burnt. it needs to reach about 140C but don't check it with anything other than a sugar thermometer. once it is brown and smells like a nice caramel tip it onto a tray that is covered with baking paper and allow to go cold. (you could have added nuts etc. to make your own nutty slack or some bicarb to make honeycomb, back then)

once cold, smash it up (the damned) and grind in a coffee grinder until fine and like caster sugar again. the beauty of this sugar is that because it has been heated to that temperature, in order to melt the sugar again it only needs to attain a fraction of 140C. what burton race did was to blitz with basil and then spread a thin layer of the sugar/basil mix on to baking paper. put that in the oven and you create a kind of glass from the sugar that, if you have scored it, can be used to make boxes etc for mousses. what we do, for our chocolate almond mousse cake is mix this with almonds, say 50:50, and then spread thinly and re-cook to make very fine nutty slack. this is the basis of the biscuit but because cranachan has oats, you need oats. my first attempt used porridge oats and was not good so i decided to try granola. we used lizzies organic or lizzies pecan or other from waitrose. simply blitz it up and add to the sugar in 50:50. spread thinly and score to create square biscuits. melt in the oven set at 140c for 5-10 minutes and the sugar will melt. allow to cool for a couple of hours and then create your biscuit shapes.

to make the napoleon, layer with raspberries and cream.



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