I try to be good and blog about cooking that is challenging, or requires a bit of technique or something I haven't done before. And I wasn't sure if this was really going to be different enough to qualify. Just sending a few different ingredients round the mixer isn't really what The Cook's Sponge is all about. But actually, this was really different. The ingredients were unusual for me (I mean who buys glace cherries except maybe at Christmas?). I have, believe it or not, never made a three-different-layers slice before, and if you want challenging and nifty techniques, just you try cutting this baby. Oh and also, never in all my life have I ever put a tablespoon of vanilla extract in to anything. That alone is worth blogging about.
I had a bit of a pink and red concept for the party stuck in my head, and couldn't take my eyes off the recipe (ok, the photos) for this slice in a Donna Hay magazine. With wonderful friends taking on much of the other baking, I found myself a small window one afternoon in which to make a very big slice...
|Nooo! Ok well just don't tell any of our party guests OK? And THAT is the end of the photo shoot.|
So there's a biscuit base, a sticky filling and a chocolate layer on top. Once you've gathered your ingredients and gathered your wits it is quite simple. You just need time for each layer to cool before you can do the next step - but there's plenty to do while you wait. So just get on and get the biscuit base in the oven and out again before you start the rest of it. I used my "mini chopper" (the extra bowly bit that came with the hand blender) to cut up the cherries, and just roughly chopped the frozen rasberries in half on a chopping board.
When putting the base in to the tin I thought it looked awfully thin, and nudged the tin a little closer together, worrying that there wasn't enough mixture. And when I made the filling it looked colossal, and really, it has loads of everything in it! Then the chocolate layer on top looked really thin too. But we got to the end of the process and it turned out just fine. Slightly awkward to eat, but what happy eating it is. I could maybe still be tempted to do one and a half times the base and the topping next time, but for now, just relax and trust the recipe.
The recipe and instructions below are taken from Donna Hay's Annual Kids' Magazine 2012 and I have copied them almost, but not quite, word-for-word.
Raspberry, Cherry and Coconut (oh and chocolate of course) Slice
2/3 cup self raising flour, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup sugar
140g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups glace cherries
3 1/3 cups dessicated coconut
1 cup condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups frozen raspberries
200g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Place flour, cocoa, coconut, sugar, butter and egg in a bowl and mix well to combine. Press into the base of a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake at 180 for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the cherries in a food processor and chop finely. Add the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. Gently stir the rasberries through. Spread the mixture evenly over the chocolate base. Bake at 180 for 30 - 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and oil together and pour over the the cherry mixture, spreading evenly.
Refrigerate until firm.
To cut, heat a large knife in boiling water, dry quickly on a paper towel or tea towel, and slice in to the chocolate while knife is still hot. You may even choose to slice through only the chocolate while your knife is hot, then go back and cut through the filling and base once you've made all the lines in the chocolate (you don't need a hot knife to get through the filling). You'll need to dip the knife in water every few slices to keep it really hot. Slide the knife slowly through the chocolate so that really it's just melting it through - this will help avoid cracking.
These are my tips, not Donna Hay's - they have a habit of making things looks immaculately beautiful without telling you how they did it! Annoying given that I am generally sucked in to her recipes because of how pretty they look (though I am pleased to report that this one tastes as good as it looks).