Monday, October 22, 2012

Chester squares

Have you ever had leftover fruit cake that you are at a loss what to do with?  I always make a Christmas cake and end up with heaps leftover, which sits sad and neglected in a dark corner of my cupboard.  Given that fruit cake is not cheap to make, you don't want to throw it away.  Today, I have one solution for what to do with that stale fruit cake - the Chester Square!

Chester squares are a memory from my childhood.  Certain bakeries in my regional hometown made Chester squares, which were pieces of shortcrust pastry filled with a pitch black filling made of treacle and crumbled stale cake, and topped with bright pink buttercream icing.  I haven't seen them anywhere else - perhaps making Chester squares is a "country" habit?

Alas, I have not yet found a recipe for Chester squares that gives me the same aesthetic result or quite the same flavour, but I have found an alternative that uses golden syrup.  I used this recipe for the pastry and this recipe for the filling, and made it in a 20cm by 30cm slice (bar) tin.  Instead of sugaring the top of my Chester squares, I iced them with lemon icing - not quite the pink buttercream of my childhood, but close enough.

The end result, as I mentioned, is not the soft squidgy black cake of my memory, but it is still pretty good.  Although it is a bit of a faff to make, it's a great way to serve fruit cake in a different way if it has gone stale or you are just sick of fruit cake.