Once open, a packet of biscuits quickly absorbs moisture, stales and softens, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone off. Unless contaminated or way out of date, they’ll be perfectly fine to eat – best-before dates are about quality, not safety, after all. That said, you can keep biscuits fresher for longer by storing them in an airtight container with a few sugar cubes or paper towel to absorb excess moisture which has the added bonus that the odd granule of sugar will often coat your biscuits. If all else fails and your biscuits do go soft, salvage them by sandwiching them on either side of a small block of ice-cream and smothering them in chocolate, crush them up and sprinkle on your breakfast yoghurt, or make this deliciously seasonal blackberry and lemon posset tart.
No-bake lemon and blackberry posset tart
This energy-saving no-bake recipe is a delicious way to transform a packet of stale biscuits into a glorious dessert. Make it with seasonal, local, fresh blackberries or use frozen European ones, because they are both more affordable as well as likely to be better for the environment than berries imported from the opposite hemisphere.
Blackberries’ intense purple colour is an indication of the high level of antioxidants they contain, which is one reason I like to eat them, fresh and frozen, all year round, as well as because they’re delicious. I love the flavour and colour combination of dark chocolate and purple berries in this dish. You can make it with any stale biscuit and add cocoa powder to make them chocolatey. If you don’t have enough biscuits, mix them with up to 50% oats, ground nuts or even breadcrumbs. I like rye breadcrumbs and chocolate, so sometimes I substitute biscuits for rye bread or, even better, chocolate rye biscuits.
250g stale biscuits (ideally chocolate, though any biscuit will do, or bulk them out with oats, ground nuts or breadcrumbs, if need be)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
400ml double cream
4 tbsp unrefined sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 60ml)
1 mint sprig mint, to decorate
Crush the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin, to make small crumbs. Melt 100g butter in a small saucepan, then stir in two tablespoons of cocoa powder, especially if you aren’t using 100% chocolate biscuits. Add the crushed biscuits, stir to combine, then press the mix firmly into the base and up the sides of a 23cm tart case.
Pour the double cream into a small saucepan with half the blackberries and the sugar, then bring up to a simmer over a medium heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, for five minutes, then turn off the heat and leave for five minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and keep stirring until the cream begins to thicken, then pour into a sieve set over a jug, and mash the fruit with the back of a spoon. Scrape any blackberry mash in the sieve into the cream mixture in the jug, then pour over the biscuit base in the tart case and chill for at least four hours. Decorate with the remaining blackberries and mint sprig, and serve chilled.