It is better to give than to receive. I know this because I had the opportunity to watch a friend blissfully devour umpteen pieces of brownie I baked her for her birthday. A work colleague actually, from a neighbouring shore who has developed a passion for Tim Tams – what better birthday gift than to present her with a packet, hidden in a brownie?
There aren’t too many than can pass up a Tim Tam or a chunk of brownie either. Such a perfect match the two have made. Soft chewy brownie with crisp chunks of chocolate biscuit – a devilish treat. Combine this with the recipient’s pleasure and you’ve created yourself one happy day.
Do you feel like indulging? Thought so. Here is how they are done. Start with the basic brownie recipe I use, and leave out the honeycomb. Once the batter is made, dab about four heaped spoonfuls onto the base of the lined tin and smooth over to form a bed for your Tim Tams. Lay out an entire packet of the biscuits over the base. Now top with the remaining batter and smooth over so the Tim Tams are hidden inside. Bake for 30-35 minutes, and when the brownie has cooled, slice into blocks. Dust with cocoa powder.
Postscript: and then it occurred to me that there are a host of other chocolate biscuits on the shelves ……
Flexibility is the key. To what you may ask. To everything, actually. To peace, contentment and dare I utter the most platitudinous word of recent times, happiness.
In case you’ve not yet realised, things don’t always go the way we desire, and the botheration of this is not the situation itself but usually, the internal fuss we are making of it. If only we replaced the mental energy exerted on resisting the issue with a more solutions focused outlook, then equilibrium could be restored without delay. Some incredibly gifted individuals I know are masters of this process and I hold them in great esteem, as this is not a skill that comes easily in my camp. I continually marvel at these sages who can turn interruptions into social opportunities, disasters into adventures and failed cakes into puddings. All the while with a smile. I keep them near and watch with awe in the hope that some of their creative thinking will cross the airwaves and seep into my soul.
So as I wait for this esoteric process to take place, what better way to while away time than to prepare a slice. And this slice is flexibility personified. The biscuits can be anything: gingernuts, shortbreads or butternut snaps. The lemon will interchange with an orange and providing you chop them, the nuts can be any unsalted variety you have packaged away. So in fact this Nutty Lemon Slice, could be reworked by you to become the Ginger Orange Pistachio slice, the Shortbread Lemon Walnut slice or the Chocolate Orange Pecan slice. It’s your call, examine the contents of you pantry and be flexible.
250g pkt Scotch Finger biscuits
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Line a slice tray with baking paper.
Crush biscuits in a food processor and combine in a bowl with zest, coconut and pistachios.
Stir milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted and combined then pour over dry mix.
Mix well and press into the base of the slice tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make icing, beat icing sugar, lemon juice and butter together and spread over slice base (add a small amount of hot water if icing is too stiff to spread).
Sprinkle with almonds. Wait until icing has set before cutting into squares.
Get your coffee happening.
Postscript: still waiting….
Not sure about you, but anything custardy really takes my fancy.
Vanilla slices, tarts, croissants and buns all plump with custard, beckon whenever I pass a bakery window. Even a simply produced stove top pouring custard can add a whole new dimension to a slice of cake nearing its ‘best before’. Indeed, custard ladled over any pudding gets the thumbs up from me.
Passionfruit Custard Slice is a true culinary treat – the passionfruit tang harmonises perfectly with the creamy filling. Add to it the nice crisp crunch of the base, and to coin Jamie Oliver, it will brighten up your life.
The foundation of the slice consists of lattice biscuits – not to be confused with the lattice from this post. (Buried in the deep recesses of my memory, I can recall as a child, my auntie serving these biscuits as a dessert smothered in hot stewed rhubarb and cream). Do you have a lattice biscuit memory?
Piled up on your prettiest serving plate, these slices are the perfect accompaniment to rich coffee, warm friends and hot gossip.
1 packet Arnott’s Lattice biscuits
1/3 cup custard powder
2 cups milk
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 cups icing sugar
pulp of 2-3 passionfruit (dependent on how juicy yours are)
- Lay 9 biscuits on the base of a tray (in 3×3 rows) lined with baking paper.
- In a saucepan, mix custard powder with 1/4 cup of the milk until it is completely blended.
- Add the rest of the milk and the sugar and stir over a medium heat until the custard comes to the boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Leave custard to cool slightly with plastic wrap over the top to stop skin forming.
- Pour warm custard over the biscuits and arrange another 9 biscuit layer over the top.
- Refrigerate until set (approx 1 hour).
- Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add passionfruit pulp a spoonful at a time, mixing well. Icing needs to be thick rather than runny so it sets well on top. Spread icing over the top biscuit layer and refrigerate until icing has set.
- Cut into squares using the shape of the biscuits as your guide. Makes 9
Postscript: …or in bed with a cup of tea and a magazine.