When you think back to your school days and the school dinners, what is the first thing you remember? I think for a lot of people it is the Chocolate Crunch or Chocolate Concrete as is was often referred to.
I loved school dinners, thankfully I was at school a long time before the dreaded Turkey Twizzlers and chips with everything farce. We had well balanced, freshly produced food, none of this processed frozen ready to slam in a microwave crap. School dinners where were you learned to love food and expand your palate. At home if you whinged enough your Mum would end up giving you fish fingers, but at school, especially infants & primary you ate what was before you and you did it because your peers were eating it. So you had dishes like liver and bacon, ragout and baked fish on a Friday, but what you really, really looked forward to were the puddings - Jam suet pudding and custard, ginger cake with icing and of course chocolate crunch and green custard.
Once those schools days were gone, so were the meals contained within. A distant memory thought of fondly over time. Well I have a confession, my Grandmother was a head cook at a school in Perry Barr, Birmingham and when she retired she took with her the 1970 School Meals Handbook, chock full of nutritional tips, food plans and of course the recipes!
So without further ado here comes the recipe to re-live your childhood to.
8oz Plain Flour
6oz Fat - This recipe works better if the fat is margarine or a mix of butter and marg.
1oz Cocoa Powder
Dash Vanilla Essence
Melt the fat in a pan, don't get it too hot. Add it to all the dry ingredients and mix. Pour in the beaten egg and mix well.
Press the mixture into a baking tray so it is about 3/4" thick.
Draw a fork over the top to create a checked patterned the brush over with a little water and sprinkle a little extra sugar on top.
Place in an oven at approx 150oc for 15 mins approx.
To test if the crunch is done press the top and it should still be fairly soft and slightly crisp at the edges. If you wait until the entire cake is firm then you have gone too far and you will end up with 'concrete' once it is cooled.
Remove from the oven and scored the cake into slices and leave to cool before removing from the tin, don't forget until the fat has re-solidified it will be extremely friable.