So, remember me talking about my crush on Jamie Oliver late last year? The whole “disheveled blonde mop, Cockney accent, cute lisp and overuse of the words brilliant and literally” thing? Well, it’s still alive and kicking. Hubs is not and never will be amused, and chooses instead to poke fun at his lisp and ape his overly-animated ways, but I’m not swayed. Sorry, Hubs.
Ever since we got rid of cable well over a year ago, we haven’t looked back – but we have adopted a rather odd set of TV favorites that we watch regularly, thanks to Netflix’s peculiar streaming selection (non sequitur addition: Netflix, pull yourself together, man – you’re embarrassing yourself). Upon a recent search in the TV section, I discovered an old Jamie Oliver show from the early 2000s, Oliver’s Twist. The premise isn’t anything new or earth-shattering; Jamie invites mates over to his flat for a nosh (see what I’m doing here?) and cooks in his adorably hurried, messy way, all the while I smile bashfully at the TV, and Hubs curls his lip and makes fun of the theme song.
OK, so the theme song is REALLY bad.
In one episode, Jamie cooks a fabulous meal for some stand-up comedian friends of his, the fabulous meal I can’t quite recall the details of because I was sharing my attention between the TV, a glass of sauv blanc, and a New York Times crossword puzzle (I don’t go past Wednesday, y’all. Sunday’s puzzle just gives me indigestion). What I do remember is that the meal ended with a scrumptious-looking chocolate fridge cake, which Jamie threw together in the blink of an eye.
Unfamiliar with chocolate fridge cake, I was pleased to see that it’s basically like making fudge with a bunch of crunchy, chewy, chunky stuff thrown in the mix. Chocolate and butter? Check. Little bit of syrup? Check. Crunchy, chewy, chunky stuff? Check.
A couple of the ingredients may throw some of you for a loop, like the digestive cookies (er, biscuits, to those from across the pond) and meringue cookies. Digestives weren’t a hard find; Whole Foods had them in the cookie section. The meringue cookies were a bit more challenging; I searched high and low for simple meringue cookies, and the closest I got was with a box of coconut meringues with a vanilla filling. Meh. They’d do. Don’t feel like you have to adhere to the recipe here – if another type of cookie calls to you, go for it. It doesn’t make any difference in the end.
The cake comes together quite easily, simply mixing the dry ingredients with the wet and pressing the whole shebang into a smallish bread pan lined with plastic wrap. A couple of hours in the fridge for it to set up, and voila, a rustic dessert that beats the pants off of any flavor Silver Dollar City fudge. As I say time and time again, change up the ingredients to suit your taste buds – like vanilla wafers instead of digestives? Like walnuts instead of pistachios? Like apricots instead of cherries? Work it! Make it your own, and make it good. Enjoy!
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Chocolate Fridge Cake
(adapted from Jamie Oliver)
7 oz. digestive cookies
3/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
3/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
10 small meringue cookies, broken into small pieces
1 stick plus 1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. honey
7 oz. quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
Over a large bowl, break the digestive cookies into small pieces. Add the chopped pecans, chopped pistachios, dried cherries and meringue cookies and mix together.
In a separate heatproof bowl, combine the butter, honey and chocolate over a pot of simmering water, until the butter and chocolate have completely melted, stirring occasionally.
Combine the dry cookie mixture with the chocolate mixture, mixing thoroughly. Line a small bread pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of wrap at the edges to fold it over. Pour the mixture into the lined bread pan, wrap the plastic directly over top and press firmly to compress everything down.
Place the cake in the fridge for at least three hours, until it’s completely firm. Turn it out onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Cut into cubes or slices and serve cold.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, but has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more from Laura, see her past stories, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook or check out Prana & Pie.