We churn out roughly 86 slices a week of this in the busy summer months. It does take time and patience – it is not a quick, whip-together recipe – but it is so worth the effort.
Place the unopened tin of condensed milk, minus its label, in a small deep saucepan. Cover it completely with hot water and boil for four hours, topping up with water so the tin is covered all the time.
To make the base: cream the butter and sugar until paler in colour and light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to help with even mixing. Add the flour and cornflour and mix through until you have one lump of dough. Scrape the dough into your tray and squash it down with your hands to get a roughly even layer. Dip a pallet knife in hot water and run it over the top to smooth out the base (a bit of hot water helps move the dough around, but don’t overdo it).
Now start on the caramel. Once your tin of condensed milk has boiled for four hours, drain off the water. Leave the tin to cool for about ten minutes so it doesn’t burst when you pierce it with a tin opener, then stab a hole with the opener to release any pressure. Put the butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Fully open the tin and scrape the hot contents into the pan. Place on a high heat and whisk vigorously until the butter melts and the sugar combines with the condensed milk. Keep whisking constantly as the caramel comes to the boil: it will look smooth, thick and volcanic. Be really careful doing this – it can splatter. We sometimes use a stick blender instead of a whisk as it moves the caramel around fast, gets rid of any lumps and gives you a really silky finish. Pour the caramel over your cooled base and leave to set.
To make the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible. Stir constantly as it melts and take the pan off the heat as soon as everything is smooth and fully combined. Make sure your tin is on a flat surface and pour the topping over the cold caramel. Leave to set overnight, then cut into 12 slices.
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