Monday, 4 November 2013

Recipe: Fifteens

I've mentioned before that Mr F is from Northern Ireland. Aside from the stereotype of eating lots of potatoes, and being partial to a decent pint of stout, foodwise there are very few things that he requests or makes to remind him of home. This occasionally strikes me as strange - Northern Ireland is (like my native Yorkshire) a land of comfort food - a land of Veda bread, soda bread and wheaten bread. It's also the land of traybakes.

Northern Ireland seems to treat the traybake like the rest of the UK treats a piece of cake. I'm only just getting used to walking into a cafe there and having to settle for a traybake over a piece of lemon or carrot cake. I'm still not completely convinced by them.

The cafe that does our event catering at work is run by a lady from Northern Ireland, and therefore specialises in traybakes rather than cakes - a frequent point of contention with some of the team. One of the things which regularly pops up on our conference lunch orders is a Fifteen slice. It's a classic, a typically Northern Irish treat, and it's incredibly easy. You don't even need an oven (or a tray). You will need a cup of tea to go alongside a slice.
Fifteens all sliced up. Not big, clever or particularly photogenic, but very easy and tasty. 
Makes about 25 slices

15 digestive biscuits
15 glace cherries
15 marshmallows
15g dessicated coconut
1 can of condensed milk

Firstly, bash up your digestives. Not too fine - still with a bit of texture, but grainy rather than broken biscuits. I do this with a rolling pin in a sandwich bag, doing a couple at a time. Pop them into a big bowl.
Mix in your cherries and marshmallows - you can cut them in half to make it easier.
Pour over the condensed milk. Go slowly, a bit at a time, and mix like mad. It depends how much you've bashed your biscuits as to how much you'll need, but essentially enough to make it all stick together. Don't worry if it's a bit lumpy or a little bit wet. Ideally you want it slightly under wet rather than over. I used about 300g of the condensed milk.
Roll the mixture into a long sausage shape on a chopping board, and then roll in dessicated coconut. Wrap in clingfilm (aavoid tin foil - it's a nightmare to unwrap). If it's quite wet and sticky, put the clingfilm onto the chopping board and sprinkle with coconut. Use the clingfilm to help you form the sausage shape.
Chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours (ideally overnight), before cutting into slices with a very sharp knife.

Best stored in an airtight container in the fridge, to stop it going gooey. It'll keep for 3 or 4 days. If you're feeling adventurous you could probably change the ingredients around - nuts, jelly sweets or a variety of dried berries would all be mighty tasty (although make sure you use fifteen of each!)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds very odd indeed! I hate glace cherries so would have to pick those out but I'd be intrigued to try it.