First off, I have to say I'm not keen on tiffin, or refrigerator cake, as it's also called. It seems to fall uncomfortably between cake and dessert, but never seems to be quite right for either. As a cake, it suffers from needing to be kept cool, as a dessert it suffers from being too hard, when cold, to eat with a spoon. The best refrigerator cake I've made was this Delia Smith recipe, which I cut into single bite size pieces, to eat after dinner, with coffee - that was very rich, though, as it had rum and cream in it, and only suitable for adults
Still, I'm always up for a challenge, and this month the We Should Cocoa (rules here) challenge, set by Choclette at the newly re-vamped Chocolate Log Blog, now called Tin and Thyme, is for no-bake chocolate treats.
I based my recipe on one for Javanese Ginger Squares, from Green and Black's Chocolate Recipes (Unwrapped). I adapted it slightly to both make it smaller and make it in a loaf shape with a 'built-in' frosting. This was the first time I've made a refrigerator cake with condensed milk - my recipes usually use butter and golden syrup melted with the chocolate - but I was pleased with the texture when the chocolate mixture set.
300g plain chocolate (I used about 70g of 85% and the rest was 74%)
90g unsalted butter
310g condensed milk
125g gingernut biscuits, broken into rough pieces
100g crystallised ginger, chopped into small pieces
40g flaked coconut
Another 30-50g crystallised ginger, cut into thin slices, to line the base of the loaf tin. The exact amount you need will depend on how thin you slice the pieces, how closely you pack them together and the size of your tin! I used a 2lb loaf tin.
Melt the chocolate in a large bowl, over a pan of simmering water.
While this is happening, grease the loaf tin and line with baking parchment; greasing the tin first helps to hold the paper in place.
In the base of the tin, lay the slices of crystallised ginger - either in a neat pattern, or just packed fairly closely together. These will show on the top of the tiffin when it is turned out of the tin.
Add the butter to the melted chocolate, remove from the heat and stir until the butter has melted. Stir in the condensed milk.
Put the loaf tin onto your scales and carefully spoon in 200g of the chocolate mixture, helping it to spread evenly without disturbing the slices of ginger. Make sure the chocolate spreads right to the sides of the tin. Chill for ten minutes.
Add the biscuit pieces, coconut and ginger pieces to the rest of the chocolate mixture, mixing well, then carefully spoon it onto the chilled chocolate mixture already in the loaf tin, spreading it evenly and packing down well to avoid air gaps. Chill for at least 8 hours - overnight is best.
Remove the tiffin from the tin, turning it top down onto a serving plate. Carefully remove the baking parchment.
Cut in slices to serve. Store in the refrigerator, covered with foil.
I thought the tiffin was better if the slices were allowed to warm up a little before being eaten. The ginger flavour was quite muted when the tiffin was really cold, but got stronger as it warmed up.
The mosaic of ginger slices on top of the tiffin, along with the layer of chocolate mixture without any additions gave the appearance of fudge frosting when the loaf was sliced. I liked this effect, so it was worth putting in the extra effort. I think I crushed the biscuits a bit too finely - more bigger pieces would have looked better.
My husband really liked this, so at least one of us was pleased with it! I liked the flavour combination of chocolate, ginger and coconut and was pleased that even with the condensed milk, it wasn't too sweet, thanks to the proportion of 85% chocolate used, but unfortunately it didn't make me like the concept of tiffin more.