We are all familiar with the crispy sticks of loveliness that are McDonalds® fries. Unfortunately, with a large portion setting you back £1.39, when you have a family of four a trip to the drive thru doesn’t come cheap. This McDonalds® style fries copy cat recipe tastes just like the real thing, but works out at less than £1 for the entire recipe – which comfortably serves 4-6 people.
You may be interested to know that in the UK, McDonalds® fries contain nothing but Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Rapeseed) and at the beginning of the potato season Dextrose which gives the fries their golden brown colouring. In comparison, last year McDonalds® US revealed how their fries were made and it actually revealed that they used 14 different chemicals! That is definitely good news for us in the UK!
McDonalds® fries are prepared in a factory, fried, frozen and then shipped to individual restaurants where they are refried just before serving. This 3 step process is similar to the one in our recipe – blanching, frying and refrying.
Most of the potatoes used by McDonalds® in the UK are grown in England, with a small proportion of them being imported from Europe. McDonalds® use a mixture of potatoes to get their characteristic taste including Pentland Dell, Shepody and Russet Burbank . In the factory, the potatoes are peeled and cut and then blanched to remove the starch. Once blanched they go through a mechanical cutting machine.
At the beginning of the potato season, there are lower levels of the naturally occuring sugars in potatoes. These sugars help to give the fries their golden appearance and also help them to cook evenly. Therefore at certain times of the year, McDonalds spray dextrose onto their fries. They are then fried into the factory and frozen ready to be shipped to individual restaurants. They are then fried again just before serving in a restaurant. The fries are sprinkled with salt although you can request fries with no salt if you wish. And that is how those lovely munch McDonalds® fries are made! We think the McDonalds® style fries recipe tastes just as good though – try it and see what you think.
Butterscotch tart… This gorgeously gooey dessert will take you right back to your schooldays – if of course you went to school in the UK in the 1970s or 1980s. This butterscotch tart was always a huge favourite at our school and this is probably the best recipe we could find for it. If you want to make it really authentic serve it with lumpy custard!
This dessert is sometimes also known as Gypsy Tart, although true gypsy tart is usually made with condensed or evaporated milk and has a thicker and firmer topping. The butterscotch sauce in this recipe remains quite liquid and does not set as firmly as gypsy tart.
Butterscotch tart is guaranteed to send you on a trip down memory lane, together with old school dinner favourites such as chocolate crackolate, pink custard and rainbow sponge. The recipe is actually incredibly easy to make which is great as this elusive dessert almost never appears in shops or restaurants.
Sieve flour into a bowl and rub in the diced margarine/Stork. Stir in the sugar and slowly add cold water mixing with a knife until the mixture starts to come together. Once its at soft ball stage put in the fridge/freezer for 15 mins to rest. Once rested, turn out onto a floured board and roll out thinly. Line a 7" flan dish or baking tin. Prick base with a fork. Bake in an oven gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes until golden. You can bake this blind if you wish - remove baking beans for the final 5 mins.
To Make the Butterscotch Topping
In a saucepan heat the butter and most of the milk over a low light until melted. Add the sugar and the rest of the milk. Gently stir until melted. Next add the sieved flour very gently stirring vigorously as you add it gradually. If you dont stir well at this stage, the mixture will go lumpy.
Let the mixture bubble over a low to medium heat for about one minute to thicken. Leave to cool for a few minutes and turn out into the flan case. Enjoy.
Although decadent, the ingredients work out fairly cheap – especially if you buy budget butter. The most expensive ingredient is the brown sugar which if you buy the supermarkets own brand works out at £1.39 for 500 grams. Make the pastry with Stork or cooks margarine to cut down on costs.
We calculate the total cost of this recipe to be no more than £2 and it will feed 6-8 depending on how hungry you are – or just 2 people in our house! You can also make mini versions of the dessert in muffin pans which are ideal for picnics, lunch boxes or eating on the move.
Hints and Tips: To save time, use a pre-made pastry case. Asda currently offer a chosen by you ready made pastry case for 90p. If you want to splash the cash, Tesco do an all butter ready made pastry case for £1.98