Tradition is good

I'm all for experimenting with new flavours; but when it comes to cakes, less is usually more. (Have you been watching the Bake Off recently? Those flavour combinations - and the intricate designs - leave me breathless!)

I have several simple recipe books compiled by PTAs, Mothers Unions and church groups; and I have to say, the recipes are hard to beat. Tried and tested by ordinary families, you'll find staples of church tea trays such as mint Aero squares, oatmeal biscuits and scones, as well as the occasional cheesecake. 

Today I'm going to share one of my favourite tray bakes (aside from fifteens, of course) with you - Ovaltine creams.  I found this recipe in a church cookery book. I think the icing was a bit sweet, though, so next time I'll cut down on the quantity of sugar. It's all about finding out what works best!

The base is made from crushed Rich Tea biscuits combined with melted butter, sugar and Ovaltine powder. There are a few glacé cherries thrown in as well - jewel-bright amongst the dark base - and a little bit of desiccated coconut for added texture. This is topped by buttercream made with the addition of some custard powder and sprinkled with more Ovaltine for colour. 

These are sweet and slightly sticky. Enjoy them with a cup of tea - and don't forget to brush your teeth! Have you any favourite tray bakes or buns? 

Ovaltine Creams (Makes 20-30)

200g Rich Tea biscuits, crushed to a powder
100g margarine
100g soft brown sugar
2 level tbsp Ovaltine (original flavour)
75g desiccated coconut
75g glacé cherries, halved
1 egg, beaten

225g icing sugar
50g margarine 
2 tbsp instant custard powder
2 tbsp boiling water

1. Melt the margarine, sugar and Ovaltine in a large pan. Add the coconut, cherries and beaten egg and cook for about 1/2 a minute. Stir in the broken biscuits and press into a swiss roll tin, covering every inch evenly without leaving any gaps. Leave to cool.

2. Cream together margarine, icing sugar and custard powder, then add the hot water and mix well. Spread over the biscuit base and sprinkle more Ovaltine powder over the top. Leave to firm and then into squares. 

These will keep for at least a week if stored in a box in the fridge. 


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