Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire's shortbreadIf you’ve never cooked this, and you have a slightly sweet tooth, then you should do so. Immediately. And if you don’t think you’ve died and gone to heaven, then you’ve got no soul.

I love the result of boiling the unopened can of condensed milk for hours until you end up with a rich and deep caramel. Coincidentally, when cooking this for the column, I noticed there was a recipe for millionaire’s shortbread on the back of the can. Don’t copy it. It won’t be a patch on this.

One can of condensed milk.
300g plain flour.
200g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g castor sugar
Pinch of salt
275g dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids
50 ml runny honey

Place the can of condensed milk in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Bring back to the boil, partly cover with a lid (to stop splashes) and keep on a boil, something more than a simmer, for four hours. Keep a careful eye on the water level, topping it up from the kettle so that it doesn’t drop below the top of the can.

While the condensed milk is boiling, cream together the butter and sugar until they’ve turned a pale colour and doubled in volume. Sieve in the flour with a pinch of salt and mix together to form a dough that comes clean from the sides of the bowl. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to rest. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Flour the work surface and a rolling pin and roll out the pastry until 1cm thick. Line an eight or nine inch square or round baking tin with greaseproof paper and press the pastry into the tin. Prick all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until tuning a little bit yellowy golden. Remove, allow to cool and then refrigerate.

Once the condensed milk is cooked, place the pan under a cold tap and cool the can down. Open it and remove the contents into a bowl; giving the contents a good stir to loosen it. Spread it evenly onto the top of the shortbread before returning to the fridge.

The final job is to break the chocolate into pieces and place in a small bowl that can sit comfortably and safely on top of a pan of simmering water, without touching the water. Add the runny honey and allow the chocolate to melt, mixing with the honey, before pouring and spooning the result over the caramel before again returning to the fridge to set for a little while.

To serve, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before it’s needed and cut into squares or wedges. It’s great with a little whipped cream, crème fraîche or ice cream. Possibly with a little stewed fruit. Or even with just a cup of coffee.

Previously published in The Northern Echo

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