“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Cake „
I bought this Millionaire Shortcake mix from Tesco recently because I wanted to be able to have some fun making something tasty. My own home baking skills are limited, to say the least, so these simple mixes usually allow me to whip up something quickly and without difficulty. This is the first time I had ever made Millionaire Shortcake so I had no idea how it's usually made or the baking steps involved.
This product is Tesco's own make from their 'Home Baking' range and it can be found in stores and online in their baking section. The product comes as a series of plastic packs of seperate ingredients in a large cardboard box which has all the information printed on it.
To begin with there are certain important factors about the product that can be read with ease on the packaging. These facts include the portion size of the product once fully made up - Tesco say this serves up to 8 people although this is really up to you, the brand simply specify the size so that their nutritional value table can be accurate. They provide calorie and fat information according to one eighth size portion of shortcake. This amounts to 210 calories and 9.9 g of fat per slice.
To start baking you will need a couple of extra ingredients. These are butter and milk. You need 40 g of softened butter and 250mls of semi-skimmed milk. I actually used full fat and it worked out okay, I also used Lurpak for the butter ingredient. I am not certain that margarine could be substituted in this case.
You need to preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius or Gas Mark 3 first of all. Then you need a big mixing bowl and you have to empty the contents of the shortcake base mix into the bowl with the butter until it forms a breadcrumb like texture. When this is achieved you should gradually add a dessert spoon of water until the mixture forms a dough. Now, I have to admit that I even found this stage quite tricky. My mix was quite lumpy and stringy and I wasn't sure if the water added was enough to blend the mix together. I was probably panicking a bit though as eventually it all came together. It's not something that a young kid would be interested in doing though as I felt I had to work the mix together quite roughly and then measure the water extremely carefullly.
You then need to put together the special disposable baking tray they provide. Again, this was a head scratcher to me. The tray is shiny glossed on one side and more papery on the other so I wasn't sure which side went on the inside, you just have to guess at which way to fit the tabs together.
You then need to press your dough into the bottom of the tray and bake in your oven for 20-25 minutes. I was a bit miffed when I realised that you have to cook each layer of the shortcake seperately as I generally expect these mixes to reduce baking times for me. I actually naively thought you could just lump everything together and shove it in the oven and hey presto! So, for any other bakery idiots out there you should be aware that making this mix takes a bit longer than most of the cake and biscuit mixes available.
You have to let the cooked dough base cool which also eats up your time but I started to make the toffee filling as it cooled. You need to empty the toffee ingredient into a pan with your milk and bring to the boil, stirring all the time and then reducing the temp and simmering for 15-20 minutes. I found this stage really hard. It is so easy for sugary substances to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan and unfortunately this happened. It was not very very burnt but the bottom of my pan went thick with a layer of burned on toffee. I had to avoid scraping pieces of this layer when I mixed the liquid. The mix gets thicker and gloopier as it bubbles but you have to really be at the side of the pan the whole time to make sure it doesn't get too hot. You then need to spread this mix over the shortcake base and chill for 30 minutes. At this point I was realising that baking this mix was going to take up a huge chunk of my time!
The last layer to go on is the chocolate topping. I thought this would be the easiest bit but the instructions tell you to put the chocolate chunks into a bowl over a saucepan and melt them. When I tried this I burnt my fingers so I went a little angry and just put the bowl into the microwave and melted the choc that way. It works just as well and takes half the time. Then you just spread over the toffee layer and leave to set. You should return to the fridge for this and chill for an hour.
By the time the hour had passed I was starving as the shortcake smells delicious as it's being made and with my sweet tooth I was desperate to taste it. The quality of the shortcake was really good. It didn't actually have the consistency of any other Millionaire shortcake I'd ever had though - this was more like something you'd put in a bowl and have with cream or icecream than have as a biscuit type snack. The base was crumbly and melted in the mouth, absolutely delicious. The toffee did not even taste burned but was very sweet and light and when chilled was like some kind of cool nectar. The chocolate top was nice too although I would have liked it to be a bit more milky and less like cooking chocolate. You really need to keep this chilled as the toffee layer can get quite wobbly and melty. Overall the taste and texture of the shortcake was just great and I can't fault it. It seemed to be worth all the time I'd put into making it!
Whilst this creates a lovely shortcake mix I do think that you need to be aware of how long it takes to make this up. It takes more than 2 hours all together and it's not just mix and leave - you actually need to think about what you are doing! I wouldn't recommend this for kids to make but any adults who like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and be rewarded for it at the end by a very tasty dessert then go for it!
This product is suitable for vegetarians and contains milk, wheat, gluten and soya.