These are odd little beasties. A traybake of sorts with plenty of dried fruit, ground almonds and desiccated coconut. They’re even gluten free. As such I choose to consider them a health food. Aside from all of that carry on they also remind me of holidays with my grandparents in Bury, Lancashire. Grandma wasn’t the most ground-breaking cook but her few staples were perfect. Bilberry pie, home-grown raspberries with yellow, English ice-cream and florentines – the best of all. The recipe is straightforward and you can adapt it to whichever fruit you have in the cupboard.
A WORD OF WARNING: IF YOU MAKE THESE AND DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE MY GRANDMA (HER NAME WAS DOT) WHEN COMPLIMENTED, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN.
Makes about 12 slices and takes 30mins-ish
Oven Temperature 200 Celsius
Dark chocolate 120g
Caster sugar 60g
Vanilla essence 1/2 teaspoon
Ground almonds 60g
Desiccated coconut 60g
Dried fruit* 250g
(*about half sultanas then make up the rest with a mix of glacé cherries, mixed peel, dried cranberries and apricots or any other dried fruity things depending on your supplies and desire)
Preheat the oven. Line a rectangular tin that is about 17 x 20cm (check out how to do that here).
Put the chocolate into a microwavable bowl and pop it into the microwave. Put it on for one minute then check it and stir it a little. Then another minute. Check it. Stir it. It should probably be melted by this stage but if it’s not pop it in for another short blast.
Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared tin and tilt the tin so the chocolate reaches all of the corners and sides. You can use the back of a spoon but you might waste vital chocolate. Place the chocolated tin in the fridge to set.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla using electric beaters, or a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease, till light and fluffy. This never really happens. Look at the photo below. I give up once it looks like unpleasantly scrambled eggs. Crack in the egg and beat to combine.
Add the ground almonds and desiccated coconut to the egg-y mixture. Chop the glacé cherries and any other big chunks of dried fruit before emptying them in too. Using a big spoon or spatula mix everything together.
Once the chocolate has set take the tin out of the fridge and spoon on the fruity-eggy-coconutty mixture. Squish it down to cover the whole tin. There isn’t loads of batter so you needn’t be shocked by the lack o’ mixture. Leave the surface a little rough to add a bit of interest. See below.
Put your masterpiece into the oven and bake till golden and wonderful (about 15mins).