Monday, 6 May 2013

Recipe: Fifteens

 by Patrick McGuiggan

The definitive Northern Ireland traybake is the ‘Fifteen’. They are so delicious I assumed that they would be fairly common throughout the mainland too; however, I have recently become aware that this is not the case. They are very sweet, more-ish, and require absolutely no skill whatsoever to make.

So, without further ado, I present to you the one and only recipe I know:

You will need:
  • the ability to count to 15
  • a large bowl
  • cling film/kitchen foil
  • a bashing implement
  • to get your hands dirty
  • 15 large marshmallows (halved, if you can be bothered)
  • 15 digestive biscuits (crushed)
  • 15 glace cherries (halved, or alternatively use 15 maltesers if, like myself, cherries lessen your enjoyment of scones & other traybakes)
  • 250-300 ml of condensed milk (a little extra doesn’t hurt)
  • dessicated coconut (for rolling)




  1. Crush the 15 digestives using a rolling pin, baseball bat or whatever feels comfortable. Do this in a sandwich/freezer bag or an alternative plastic film which is capable of withstanding long term bashing, whilst also maintaining structural integrity. 
Like another Irish staple, mashed potato, there should be no lumps whatsoever…we hate lumps.

(You could use a food processor for this, but that would rob you of a truly wonderful anger management experience)

2. Mix together the marshmallows, crushed digestives and glace cherries (or malteasers) in a large bowl. Pour in the condensed milk to make soft, moist dough. If it looks too dry add some more condensed milk, dry fifteens are awful, however if you add too condensed milk then the mixture won’t set. See below

  1. This is the messy bit; roll the dough into a large sausage shape. Spread a layer of desiccated coconut over a clean surface and roll the sausage over the coconut to until the outside is completely covered in coconutty goodness.

  1. Wrap it tightly in cling film or kitchen foil and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

  1. Then finally slice in to, you guessed it, 15 slices.  I normally use bun cases as they can be quite sticky.

  1. Enjoy.

If you would like your efforts assessed by an expert, please deliver a few of your finished fifteens to room 2010.

I will be more than happy to grade your efforts.


  1. Mr McGuiggan kindly made some of these for the Maths deaprtment and they are really tasty!

  2. I've never seen these before. they look really tasty, I'm going to use this recipe, thanks

  3. I was going to do this but then I realised you need to be able to count to 15.


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