"My mojo is back," I declared with a grin, as I shimmied past Peter ostentatiously. "Well, that's good to hear," he said, adding "I didn't realise it had left you."
Truth is, I had lost interest in cooking and baking, but had no idea why. Maybe it was a timing thing. We've been crazy busy over the last twelve months or so, with me writing the book and all. I think I might have finally hit a wall, as you sometimes do. Mentally, I decided to take a break, allowing myself some down time. Looks like I needed it. But I'm back. And my mojo is back too. Woo hoo!
The recipe I'm sharing here is one of those old treasures from the days when my children were at pre-school. This is a no-bake lemon and coconut slice that can be made with ultra plain biscuits, including gluten-free and unsweetened varieties. I seem to recall making the base with Weet-Bix at least once or twice, although I haven't tried that lately.
Peter's elderly mam, Joan, bought a packet of something similar from the supermarket when she stayed with us recently. I snaffled a piece one afternoon when Joan was taking a nap, and shared it with Peter. "Yours would be way better than these, I reckon," he said after tasting it. "I think you might be right. I used to make something similar for Adam and Lauren when they were little," I replied. "Isn't it time you made them for me?" he asked. "Have you been a good boy?" I said. "Aren't I always," he winked, as he kissed me on the nose.
NO-BAKE LEMON COCONUT SLICE
250g packet plain biscuits (e.g. Milk Arrowroot or unsweetened Marie biscuits)
40g desiccated coconut
zest of a lemon, finely chopped (*use half for the base, half for the icing)
395g can sweetened condensed milk
45g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (*you'll need more for the icing)
For the icing:
285g pure icing sugar, sifted
lemon zest, finely chopped*
40-60g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, to finish
Lightly grease a 28cm x 18cm lamington tin, and line the base and sides with baking parchment, allowing extra "flaps" at the sides to make the slice easy to lift out of the tin.
To make the base:
Break the biscuits into pieces and place into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until the biscuits resemble breadcrumbs. (If using a Tefal Cuisine Companion, set to speed 12 and process for 1 minute 30 seconds, or a little longer if needed).
Tip the crushed biscuit mix into a Pyrex bowl. Fold in 40g of desiccated coconut and half of the finely chopped lemon zest.
Combine the sweetened condensed milk and 45g of butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until smooth and creamy. Keep an eye on the pot so you don't burn the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in one tablespoon of lemon juice.
Now, pour the condensed milk/butter/lemon juice over the biscuit mix, and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon, until the ingredients are well combined.
With clean hands, press the mixture evenly into the prepared lamington tin. Use a long palette knife to flatten the base and smooth out any bumps. Note: the more time you spend on this, the neater the edges will be, and the better the finished slice will look. Refrigerate the base for at least one hour.
To make the citrus icing:
In a Pyrex bowl, combine the sifted icing sugar, the rest of the finely chopped lemon zest and the softened butter (adding it a little at a time), together with two or three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Mix with a spatula until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. Add a little more butter or lemon juice, if needed. Spread the icing neatly and evenly over the base. Finally, sprinkle with desiccated coconut to finish. Pop the tin back into the refrigerator and chill until it has set.
Using the flaps on the baking parchment, lift the slice carefully out of the tin and place it onto a chopping board. Mark out 24 even-sized slices and cut into segments with the tip of a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Should it last that long, the slice will keep for up to a week. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Setting time: approximately 95 minutes.
Your turn now, dear readers. Do you lose your "mojo" from time to time? Do you love old fashioned cakes and slices as much as we do?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.