The World's Biggest Coffee Morning, I decided to try a couple of recipes straight away. I was a little constrained by what was already in the store cupboard, and by the fact that I'd already made a batch of our favourite low-fat brownies, for the weekend, so didn't want another chocolate bake.
The flavours worked really well together but I found the flapjacks a little too crisp for my taste, although this could be due to the 5 minutes extra baking I gave them before I got a golden colour on top. The mixture didn't really hold together well either - the downside of trying to reduce the fat and sugar, I think - so the flapjacks crumbled when eaten. I used a tangerine instead of the orange stipulated, so may have been a little short of enough orange juice, which might have contributed to the crumbliness.
This is one of my quibbles with this particular recipe - the imprecise nature of the measurements and instruction! "Add orange juice to taste" said the recipe - well how am I to know how much it needs, and whether it's a vital part of holding the ingredients together, or just a flavour addition? An instruction which makes sense to the recipe owner, who may have developed the recipe over several years of changes, may not mean much to anyone else trying the recipe, without the experience with it. I'd also much rather have weights of syrups, rather than tablespoons. It's also difficult to measure dried apricots in tablespoons! OK, they need chopping, but if I chop them first and then measure out 3 tablespoons, then I may chop too many and end up with waste. In the end I decide two apricots would fill a tablespoon, so chopped 7 of them (one for luck!).
The recipe - melt 125g butter in a pan, adding 60g unrefined demerara sugar (I used light muscovado) 1 tablepoon of golden syrup and 1 1/2 tablepoons of honey. Stir in 250g porridge oats, 3 tablespoons chopped dried apricots, 3 tablespoons dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice, 1 teaspoon salt (I left this out as I used salted butter) and the zest of an orange. Finally stir in the juice of the orange, to taste. Spoon the mixture into a shallow base-lined 20 x 18cm tin (I used a 20cm square tin, lined with baking parchment), press down firmly and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out and cut into squares. (I marked the flapjack into squares while still warm, then cooled in the tin, as I usually do!)
The recipe - Preheat the oven to 150C. Cook 450g (weight before peeling and chopping) of chopped cooking apples in a little water, until tender, then drain. Blend 40g cornflour with a little of the milk from 450mls. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil with 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 50g light muscovado sugar and 25g butter. Add to the cornflour mixture then return to the pan and bring back to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons single cream and two egg yolks, then remove from the heat before the mixture boils again. Fold in the cooked apples and pour into an oven proof serving dish (you need a pie or flan dish about 20cm in diameter). Whisk the 2 egg whites until stiff then whisk in most of 100g caster sugar (I whisked in about 2/3). Gently fold in the rest of the sugar, then spread the meringue over the apple mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the meringue is crisp and golden. Serve hot or cold.
NB - I received a free copy of The Little Book of Treats, from Macmillan Cancer Support, but have tried to give an impartial review of the book, and the recipes I've tried.