Wednesday, 6 March 2013

ALMOND SLICE

This is another old recipe I found in my mum’s cookery notebook from school. It’s a pastry base slice, with a layer of jam and a light, cakey almond filling, topped with a pastry lattice. Nearly all old recipes feature a layer of jam somewhere or other, but it’s an easy and affordable way of adding extra flavour. I must admit my lattice was not even, weaved or handsome in any way, but the flavour and rich smell of the almond slice when baking made up for that. In fact, I don’t think the kitchens ever smelt this rich. My mum said it took her right back.

For the pastry
250g flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
125g cold butter, cubed
1 cold egg

For the Filling
125g sugar
125g butter
125g ground rice
2 tbsp almond essence (or liqueur)
1 egg
3 tbsp strawberry jam

To make the pastry, blitz the flour, icing sugar and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg with a fridge cold knife (I put it in the freezer for a few minutes) until a dough just about starts to form. You may need 1-2 tbsp of cold water as well, depending on the size of the egg. Turn out onto a piece of cling film, and with the cling film, squash the dough together to form a ball, then flatten a little to make it easier to roll. Pop in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

While the pastry is resting you can make the filling by gently melting the sugar, butter and ground rice together in pan before adding the almond extract and egg (beaten). Set to one side.

Preheat oven fan170/190c/5 Line and grease a square brownie tin.
When the pastry is rested, take it out of the fridge and allow to warm up for 5 minutes. Roll out to the thickness of a pound coin then place the tin on top and cut around it, allowing a 1cm gap at each side, because it shrinks in the oven. This part of pastry is for the base only so the off cuts will be used for the lattice. Layer the pastry at the bottom of the tin, prick the base and blind bake for about 5-10 minutes, just to ensure the base won’t be soggy.

In the meantime re-roll the off cuts then slice into long strips for the lattice. I did about 14 strips, but you can do them however you want. Once the pastry is blind baked, remove from the oven and spread with the jam. Pour over the filling then lattice the pastry strips over the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes before taking out of the oven and leaving to cool completely in the tin. Having now eaten it, I can honestly say it’s one of the tastiest things I’ve ever made.

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