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You would think I would be done with all of the rich food after everything we have cooked and eaten in December, but nope . . .  I have not.   We were having some people over for a  Family Home Evening Group we are starting and I wanted to bake something special for us to have as a refreshment, so I baked these Paradise Slices for us to enjoy!

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One of Todd’s favourite puddings is Bakewell Pudding and Bakewell Slices and Bakewell Tarts.   The ting which sorts a bakewell anything from the rest is that it usually has a shortbread biscuit base,  a layer of jam and then a layer of almond sponge frangipane on top.  These slices are very similar to those  . . .  but only in the concept.  There are three layers, yes . . .

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You have the traditional shortbread base as in Bakewell creations . . .  except this one is lightly flavoured with the zest of either a lemon or an orange.  This time I used an orange.   The jam is the same . . .  raspberry jam . . .  but that frangipane sponge is where it all changes . . .

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It is rich and buttery  . . .  and almondy . . .  but it is also stogged full of coconut and lovely sweet and sticky sultana raisins!  I adore raisins!  But if they are not your thing . . .  you could easily substitute a dried fruit you do like for them!

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You could ice the top if you wanted to, but I think they are gorgeous just as they are . . .  simply dusted with some icing sugar.  All in all, they went down a real treat with ourselves and our guests.  And I confess the glutton in me cannot keep my hands off them.  Adapted from a recipe found in Annie Bell’s Baking Bible.

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*Paradise Slice*

Makes 16 slices

Delicious slices with a buttery shortbread base, jam filling and a coconut sponge stogged full of sultanas on top.  

For the base:

175g butter, diced (3/4 cup)

75g of caster sugar (6 TBS plus 1 tsp)

150g of plain flour (1 cup, plus 1 TBS plus 2 tsp)

100g ground almonds (1 cup plus 2 TBS plus 2 1/2 tsp)

the finely grated zest of one lemon or one orange 

about 4 dessertspoons of raspberry jam to fill

For the sponge:
110g of butter diced (7 TBS plus 2 tsp)
150g of caster sugar (3/4 cup)
4 medium free range eggs
150g dessicated coconut (scant 2 cups)
75g ground almonds (14 TBS)
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
110g of sultanas (3/4 cup)
Icing sugar to dust 

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Have ready a 9 by 13 inch non-stick baking pan.  I line it with baking paper leaving an overhang so I can lift them out once cooled.  Butter the paper.

Place all of the ingredients for the base in a food processor.   Blitz to make crumbs, then keep the motor running until the mixture comes into a ball, scraping down the sides a couple times.   The dough will be soft and sticky.   Press the dough into the base of the baking tin.  Cover with a piece of cling film and smooth it out.  Chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

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Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Prick the base all over with a fork.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the base is just beginning to colour.   Stir the jam with a fork to loosen it.  Spread the jam in a thin layer over the base using a palate knife.  Increase the oven temperature to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.

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Place the butter and sugar into a bowl.  Cream together until well blended.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.   Whisk in the coconut, ground almonds, baking powder and the sultanas.   Spoon the sponge mixture over top of the jam, spreading it into an even layer.   Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the sponge has set and the top is golden brown.   Run a knife carefully around the edges of the cake in the tin while it is still hot, then leave to cool completely.

Lift out onto a board and then cut into two long slices through the middle and then cut each half into 8 slices.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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