Today should have been my Nanna’s 85th birthday. It would have been a quiet celebration with my Grandad, where they would most likely have gone to lunch at their favourite restaurant (the same one they went to for all birthdays and anniversaries). Unfortunately, we lost Nanna nearly two years ago, after being diagnosed with cancer. Just three weeks separated her diagnosis to the day she passed away.
Nanna was soft spoken, caring and had love for all of her family. She was never one to complain about being in pain, never one to want to upset anyone. She wanted to make sure that everyone around her was happy, healthy and comfortable. The best way that Nanna did this was through her cooking. She loved baking, especially when people came to visit.
Whenever we would go to visit, we always knew that Nanna’s famous praline would be in the fridge, waiting for us. Now, Nanna’s praline isn’t the traditional praline with nuts. In fact, Nanna’s praline is more like a tiffin, or fridge cake. Either way, it’s to die for and was a recipe passed down from generation to generation.
While going through my mum’s magazine clippings and folders a few months ago, back when this blog re-started (as did my desire to get back in the kitchen), I opened the folder labelled ‘Desserts’. There, on the first page was a hand-written recipe for ‘Fudge Cake Praline’. I cried seeing that familiar scrawl, the one that is so similar to my mum’s but slightly easier to read (sorry Mum). I knew, in my heart, that the only time to make Nanna proud was to celebrate her delicious recipe on her birthday.
I’d made the praline with Nanna and Mum many times before, as it was forbidden to return from my Nanna’s house without a box of praline for my aunt, uncle and cousin. Genuinely, I would have been murdered if I went back empty-handed. However, I’d never made it myself. I’m not sure why. Possibly because it is an extreme treat, and should only be enjoyed in small portions.
When I say something should only be eaten in small doses, you know it’s sweet!
So, in honour of my beautiful Nanna, I made her praline and I am here to share it with you all. It might be a family recipe, but it should be enjoyed by anyone and everyone who loves chocolate. That’s the way Nanna would have wanted it.
For the base:
250 grams digestive biscuits, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125 grams unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons golden syrup
150 grams 70% dark chocolate
For the icing:
100 grams icing sugar
50 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
4 tablespoons hot (not boiling) water
- Combine the crushed biscuits and cinnamon in a large bowl, ensuring the cinnamon is dispersed throughout the biscuit crumb.
- In a saucepan, slowly melt the butter, cocoa powder, golden syrup and dark chocolate until everything is melted and combined thoroughly.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the biscuit bowl, and stir through until all biscuit pieces are coated and bind together.
- In a well-greased baking tray, pour in the biscuit mixture and flatten to form an even base. Place in the fridge for a few hours.
- In a bowl, combine the icing sugar, cocoa powder and coffee. Slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time, whisking thoroughly. Add just enough water to make a fairly thick icing, you don’t want it too watery or it won’t set properly.
- Pour the icing on top of the biscuit base and return to the fridge overnight.
- Cut the praline into small squares, and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.