Sunday, 28 October 2012

Raspberry, Cherry and Coconut Slice


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.
  


Baby Esther was due the day after my birthday in late October, and she rather nicely came instead the day before my birthday. So this was girls' birthday week in our house, and I bravely decided to have a party. So many people enjoy the opportunity to celebrate our kids and I wanted to let them do it properly.



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

Biscuit Base
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

Filling
3 cups glace cherries
3 1/3 cups dessicated coconut
1 cup condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups frozen raspberries

Topping
200g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Biscuit Base
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.
Filling
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.
Topping
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).



20 comments:

  1. What a terrific post! The photos, the story, the food... do you deliver?

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    1. Ha ha yes definitely if only I knew who you were!

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  2. Well, that wasn't me above, but on that assurance, I'd like to order one of these every week for the rest of the year. It was DIVINE. Oh my.

    And happy birthday, birthday girls!

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  3. Oh my! The deliciousness! Can I ask if it tastes very glace cherryish? I'm not a fan, but this does look worthy of a try (apart from frozen raspberries costing the earth here!) LOVE the pic of Esther's finger squidging in! :) And I share your annoyance at recipes with perfect pictures, then when your follow the instructions the quantities are all out! I made my first ever Key Lime Pie yesterday and I had waaaaay too much base (which was super crumbly and I worried it would all fall apart upon scooping out)and I thought I could have done with twice as much filling.As it turned out the base just managed to hold together and it was so rich that the amount of filling was probably fine. Delicious too I might add! :)
    Oh, and I'm pretty sure you will need to take a rain check on delivering to "anonymous" ;)

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    1. Ha ha well I saw he had been around, and I think I recognise the use of the word terrific! If I can get one to you, you can get a Key Lime Pie to me. Deal? (I'm happy to even take a crumbly one, and blame the recipe writer)

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    2. Oh and I am not a fan of glace cherries either, but they are good here. The main flavour people seemed to pick up was the rasberries.

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    3. I was surprised to hear they were glace cherries - also not a fan in general, but this slice is AMAZING.

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    4. Good to hear! Every time I see these pics I can't quite get over how, well, pretty this slice looks.

      Now to think how to package up a Key Lime Pie to send half way around the world...

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  4. Okay then, I will be substitute for anon-eee-mouse, and take up that order. This slice was quite gastronomically morish. Panic not, JB, about the glace cherries. I thought the filling was similar to eating a juicy raspberry yet it looked and felt dry enough to hold its shape even next day. Definitely on the recommended menu.

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    1. Good to hear "Big Pop"! ;)

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  5. Wow, sounds intriguing. I'm not a massive fan of glace cherries either (I even omit them from my Christmas cooking), and only usually consume coconut as part of Bounty bars, but... this looks really tempting. Particularly when accompanied by the pictures and the glowing reviews.
    (Belated happy birthday to you and your daughter, by the way)

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    1. Funny you mention about Bounty bars. I am a big fan. And someone mentioned that the slice was a bit like a Cherry Ripe - if that appeals?? (I love them!)
      And thank you.

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    2. I don't think I've ever encountered a Cherry Ripe... not knowingly, in any case! I tend to avoid cherry flavoured most things, to be honest, although - bizarrely - I actually love fresh cherries.

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    3. I think if you love Bounty bars you would love this slice. And if you don't love Bounty bars, you would also LOVE THIS SLICE.

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    4. Nothing bizarre about that. When does the fake flavour ever taste like the real thing? Just think banana. Strawberry. Etc. This doesn't taste cherry-ish - people trying to guess what was in it never picked it. Poor old glace cherries they are getting a beating here aren't they? I forst encountered Cherry Ripes in the UK so just assumed, you know, all of you at them all the time...

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    5. Ha ha! I shall have a closer look at the sweet shelves next time I'm in a supermarket! And will certainly look out for an excuse/opportunity to make this - have bookmarked the page for future reference.

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  6. Amazing photos as usual! These look utterly mouth-watering and delicious, and in this case the taste actually exceeds the promise of how they appear (a tricky thing to achieve with baking). I too have a serious aversion to glace cherries (even more so now I've checked how they are made on wikipedia) and I could not detect them at all ... this is the MOST scrummy thing I've eaten in a very long time!!! I'll be giving it a go for Christmas, perhaps using a jar of morello cherries instead, and if this works might even risk delivering some back to The Cook herself ...
    P.S. What sort of vegetable oil did you use to mix with the chocolate topping?

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    1. Oh dear I'm too scared to look up glace cherries now! Morello sound like a great idea. So does the delivery idea. I use grapeseed oil for all my cooking at the moment, and it worked well here.

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    2. Oh dear, did not mean to scare you - probably just a childhood dislike taken a bit too far! Will only deliver if I can make some that are nearly as good as yours were :)

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