Now that I’ve finally got my act together for the new year, I’m gonna tell you a story.
If you’re too impatient for the ‘scenic route’ version, feel free to scroll on down. That’s perfectly fine.
This recipe is not the recipe I intended to post. The recipe I originally intended was much more exotic. But things don’t always work out in Recipeland, and so here we are.
The recipe I HAD found for you all hailed from South Africa, which already made it exotic and mysterious! It is apparently a beloved dessert, as every version of it that I found was deluged both with cries of delight and compliments up the wazoo.
“I must try this!” I said to myself. But there was a problem. Two of the ingredients were kinda South Africa-specific: a thin, coconut-flavoured biscuit and a chocolate and mint bar.
Rather than hunt them down, I decided, in the first instance, to go with the That’ll Do approach and substitute-in what I could find, and see if it was worth some extra effort. Scouring the supermarket aisles, I found Rich Tea Thins and Mint Matchmakers and decided That’ll Do.
The other ingredients, for there were only two more – were double cream and caramelised condensed milk, aka Banoffi Pie filling.
Armed with my That’ll Do ingredients it was very simple and straightforward: mix the caramel and cream together until light and fluffy, and layer alternately with the biscuits, finishing with a layer of cream. Cover lightly with cling film and leave overnight in th fridge. Sprinkle chopped matchmakers on the top to finish and serve.
Verdict: Oh my! and Meh…
As with all refrigerator cakes, overnight the biscuits absorb moisture from the cream, firming everything up, so it slices really well. The Meh part was…it just didn’t taste very special. The Oh My! part was the minty Matchmakers. (If you’re unfamiliar with these bumper-fun minty chocolate sticks of delight, see below in all their neon garishness ↓).
Now, it’s been many a festive season since I tasted a minty Matchmaker and they dang-near blew my head off. I don’t know if someone joggled the elbow of the lady in charge of the peppermint essence for this particular batch, but they were positively FEISTY! Like extra-strong-mints minty! So the dessert had this over-the-top minty, crunchy chocolate and rather dull cream/biscuit mixture for a very uninspired – and busy – mouthful.
“It’s probably the fault of the substitutions” I thought. So…I hunted down the original ingredients. I found them on eBay and paid a premium for Shirley Coconut Biscuits and Peppermint Crisp bars.
I remember a version of Peppermint Crisp bars used to be sold in the UK when I was a child – I recall the shards of green minty sugar. I thought they were a lot slimmer than these chunky bars, but whatever. I tasted the Shirley biscuits – for science! – and they were thin and crisp – very similar in fact, to the Rich tea fingers – with just a faint hint of coconut.
So I made batch number two with the correct ingredients, and was rather surprised at the result.
Dear reader, it was worse than the first.
The mix of flavours now had added coconut. The Peppermint Crisp, much like the mint Matchmakers, had a kick on it like a mule, and after a night in the fridge, the shards of mint sugar had melted into pools of green goo.
Trying not to waste the ingredients, I scraped off the top layer of chocolate minty goo and tried to persuade my daughter to give it a go. A fervent caramelophile, she turned her nose up at it after one bite because “Eurrrrgh, it’s got a weird coconut taste”.
So all in all, a bit of an expensive dud all round. But it is a public service that I perform willingly so that you don’t have to go through the disappointment.
However it’s not all bad news, because since I’d had some caramel cream mixture left over, I’d also made a mini version. Having run out of the coconut biscuits, I used Lotus biscuits instead, and crumbled some Honeycomb Matchmakers on the top, along with some broken biscuits for crunchiness. It turned out to be way more delicious than either of the attempts above, and so this is the recipe I’m giving you today.
It’s ridiculously easy to pull together and deliciously indulgent.
It can also easily be turned into a frozen dessert – but I have no pictures of that because over the festive season that disappeared even faster. See below for details.
Caramel Fridge Cake
The quantities of biscuits depend on how many layers you’d like in your dessert, and the size of the dish you’re using. The biscuits are thicker than the originals, so I used just three layers, but feel free to layer in more.
1 x 397ml tin Caramel Condensed Milk
400ml chilled double cream
1-2 packets Lotus Biscoff biscuits
Honeycomb Matchmakers/Maltesers/Crunchie bar
- Whisk together the condensed milk and double cream until light and fluffy.
- Put a layer biscuits over the base of your serving dish.
- Spoon over 1/3 of the caramel cream.
- Repeat two more times, for a total of three layers each of biscuit and cream (the photo only has 2 layers because it was small), finishing with a cream layer.
- Cover lightly with cling film and chill in the fridge overnight.
- To serve:
- Chop up the chocolate and scatter over the surface of the dessert.
- Break up some biscuits and dot them over for added texture.
Caramel ice-cream sandwiches.
Regular readers will have recognised that the caramel/cream mixture is also the recipe for no-churn ice-cream, so it is a matter of moments to turn this into a frozen delight. You can, in fact, put the entire dish into the freezer and then serve it as a frozen dessert. However, a fun interpretation is to make ice-cream sandwiches, using the biscuits as ‘wafers’ – and it is barely any more trouble.
- Using a straight-sided dish/tin, line it with foil and then cling film (to help when serving). The straight sides mean it will be easy to line up the biscuits in each layer, but any dish will do.
- Lay your biscuits face DOWN in a layer in the bottom. Allow a small gap between each biscuit.
- Add the cream mixture.
- Add a second layer of biscuits and then another layer of cream.
- Finally, add a top layer of biscuits, this time face UP.
- Cover with cling film and freeze overnight.
- To serve:
- Lift the frozen dessert out of the tin with the help of the foil/clingfilm.
- Using a sharp knife, slice down between the biscuits, right through the dessert. If your biscuuits have lined up correctly, this should prove very easy.
- You then have a creamy caramel frozen snack that’s easy to hold by the biscuit ‘wafers’ top and bottom.