When I was little, my Granny Jill would bake up something fresh in anticipation of our arrival at the grandparents' place. Whenever we visited there would inevitably be some sort of scrumptious cake or slice cooling on the cake rack in the kitchen, still delightfully warm from the oven. One thing she baked quite a lot was a simple Jam and Coconut Slice. This recipe runs in the same circles as the Honey & Ginger Biscuits I made last week; it can be whipped up using common items that most cooks would have on hand at any given time - or at least they would have in the good old days when baking was an art form.
Some people refer to this slice as Old English Matrimonial, and in New Zealand it's called Louise Cake. Chef Matthew Evans of Gourmet Farmer fame has been known to call it Sawdust. Call it what you like, but there's no doubting how lovely the combination of the biscuit base, the jammy layer and the chewy coconut crust can be, especially when served with a cup of tea.
Today I had some Granny Smith apples that needed using up so I thought I would try an experiment of adding apples to the slice. I reduced the sugar quantities (as has been my habit of late) considering the whole thing is usually just sugar, upon sugar, finished off with sugar. And especially since I was adding an additional sweet item! All up I reduced the processed sugar by more than 1 cup and it is still quite sweet (that's kinda scary when you think about it).!
It's always suprising to see which cakes are more popular when I set up shop at the markets. I had some jam to use up while prepping for a market earlier this year so I whipped up this old family favourite and was shocked to see it was one of the first things I sold out of! And it's so simple! I think it's popular because so many people know it and love it. That's the kind of baking I want to be doing. No-nonsense, no frills, no fancy icing, just good old fashioned tasty food! I love a bit of 'Nosh-talgia'!
Strawberry, Apple & Coconut Slice
120g butter, softened
60g Whole Earth Baking Blend* (or 120g caster sugar)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
¼ cup Strawberry jam
3 or 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly into segments
1 large egg
¼ cup Whole Earth Baking Blend* (or 1 cup caster sugar and leave out the maple syrup)
1 tsp sugar free maple syrup
1 cup dessicated coconut
Preheat oven to 180°C and line lamington tin with baking paper.
Place the apples in a microwave proof bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Beat butter and Whole Earth Baking Blend (or substitute) to a cream in the small bowl of an electric mixer.
Add 1 beaten egg and the self-raising flour and mix well.
Press mix into a lined lamington tin and spread with jam. If you have trouble spreading the base to the corners, try using slightly wet hands to press it out. You may need more or less jam depending on the type of jam. You just want a thin layer to coat the base, don't spread it on too thick as a little goes a long way. Lay the apple slices out in a thin layer on top of the jam.
In the bowl of the electric mixer, beat the egg, Whole Earth Baking Blend (or substitute), maple syrup and coconut until well combined.
Spread the topping over the top of the apple slices evenly. I find it easier to just use my hands to do this.
Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
Allow to cool fully in tin before slicing and serving.
P.S. This slice is also delicious made with Apricot Jam!
* Whole Earth Baking Blend is a Raw Sugar / Stevia blend and is available in the sugar and baking section of most supermarkets.