From all accounts, Merle was a great cook. Notices for Merle praised her baked dinners, scones and pavlovas.
Her family even included one of Merle’s recipes in the memorial booklet. What a lovely idea. At the service, attendees were invited to try it … so I did.
- 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 30g butter
- 1½ cups grated tasty cheese (divided – a ¼ of the cheese is for the base and the balance for the topping)
- ¾ cup milk
- 60g butter (extra)
- 4 large onions, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 200g sour cream
- A small packet of crinkle potato chips.
The instructions were:
- Sift the flour and cayenne pepper into a bowl
- Rub in 30g butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Mix in ¼ of the cheese (I worked this out to be 3/8 of a cup of cheese) and all of the milk
- Spread the mixture evenly over a greased 25cm x 30cm slice tin
BUT this is what I did…
- Whizz the flour and the cayenne pepper in a food processor for a couple of pulses
- Drop in cold cubed butter, pulse a few times until combined
- Pour the milk into the mixture through the shoot
- Pulse again until mixture begins to come together
At this stage, I was thinking: this looks, feels and is behaving like pastry so I decided to treat it like pastry. I wrapped it in some Glad Wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
I then took it out of the fridge and rolled it to fit the pan. There was just enough to cover the base so I was pretty chuffed about that.
I then put it into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
I must admit, I blind baked the base for 10 minutes (I am pretty sure this was not necessary but I could not control myself).
- Melt the extra butter and gently sauté the garlic and the onions until soft. It is important that you do not brown the onions so use a very low heat.
- Let the onions cool. I set them aside in a sieve to make sure there was no residual moisture.
- Mix the sour cream into the cooked onions.
- Add white pepper and salt to taste.
- Pour the onion mixture over base and smooth with the back of a spoon.
- Top with the remaining cheese and crushed chips.
Bake in oven at 180˚Celsius for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Sue, I hope this does your mum proud. All the very best to you and your family. I hope the publication of this dish helps in a small way to keep your mum’s memory alive.
Postscript: After posting this recipe, I decided to do a search to see if I could find its source. I found the recipe on the web (although no source was cited) and noted that the base is supposed to be ‘scone like’ so treat the base as you would scone mixture.