1lb butter (ideally use butter, for a better taste, but soft margarine is fine, or half and half)
1 lb sugar
*1/2lb ground rice
*1/2lb ground almonds
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Almond extract (not essence)
Short crust pastry (either a bought block or made with 1lb flour)
About half jar jam (err on the side of generosity, and preferably home made and sharpish like raspberry, blackcurrant or homemade plum)
‘Cakes to Die For’ or ‘Heaven on a Plate’…
Neither of these descriptions is mine, and modesty almost prevents me repeating them, but we get so many complimentary remarks about the cakes that our guests seem to enjoy, and so many rather shy requests for the recipe, that early in 2011 we decided I should start a kind of recipe corner.
I wrote then, “Just how we’ll do it most effectively still remains to be worked out but just to get the ball rolling John and I felt we needed to start otherwise it might just remain a good idea bubbling away under the surface. Being keen on photography, John is going to try his hand at food photography, but as he has heard that to get the best effect the food needs to be cold and preferably smeared with washing up liquid for a nice appetizing sheen, maybe he won’t be very successful because we are far too greedy to spoil good food! But to start with, I am using one of the photos Jeremy Brough took for our website. (He certainly doesn’t use washing up liquid.)
So here goes… The recipe I was last asked for was for one of own family favourites, and what we call the ‘fake Bakewell’ (you will soon see why). I really am giving away secrets but having already happily shared it with so many of our guests I am quite happy to show it to some more.”
I will give you the ‘recipe’ I use. It is just in my head and as you will see it is not very scientific. And you will notice that being older than some I still think and cook in pounds and ounces. If you think of the basic recipe as being for every egg 4 oz of everything else you can make the size you want. I always make this in a large Aga baking tray so I use the basic recipe times four. For normal family use one would probably do half, i.e. 2 eggs etc.
Roll out the pastry and line the tin you are using. Ideally put it into the fridge but I can’t say I always do.
Melt the butter/marge and sugar in a saucepan on a lowish heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar completely dissolves into the melted butter. Add the ground rice/almonds and leaving it on the heat, stir for a minute or two until it is all well mixed and smooth. Take off the heat, and while it is cooling briefly spread the jam over the base of the pastry.
Then stir into the mixture the beaten eggs and a generous teaspoon and a bit (to size and taste) of almond extract.
Pour the mixture onto the pastry. Sprinkle generously with flaked almonds and pop it into the oven. In the Aga (2-door) I put it on the bottom grid of the top oven with the cold plain sheet over, for about 25-30 minutes+. I can’t help with gas or electric temperatures but I would have thought whatever you’d normally use for something similar.
*It is perfectly delicious – and I rather think better – made with just ground rice and no ground almonds at all, but I often do half and half. I’ve never (yet) done it with all ground almonds.