Ir­re­sistible any time of day

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD- FILE -

Ihave an ir­ra­tional fear of bit­ing into a Bounty bar. It is not the flavour of co­conut but the gritty- mouth feel that di­vides the masses into dis­tinct love- hate camps. If you fall into the lat­ter, co­conut slices might not be top of your bak­ing list. I met a lovely lady at a 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary who en­thused about her de­li­cious co­conut slices. They were her own spe­cial­ity back in the day when a sig­na­ture bake was a call­ing card to mul­ti­ple so­cial in­vi­ta­tions; by­gone days when bakes jos­tled for pride of place at vil­lage stalls.

It re­minded me that a gen­er­a­tion of ac­com­plished bak­ers still pos­sess beau­ti­fully cu­rated note­books filled with recipe trea­sures. Many guard their recipes, even from close fam­ily, so I didn’t have the nerve to ask her to share hers.

In­stead, I em­barked on a test kitchen ad­ven­ture to dis­cover a co­conut slice to en­tice those with a co­conut- shy pre­dis­po­si­tion, who en­joy the sub­tle pres­ence of co­conut in a Mikado bis­cuit but noth­ing more.

This recipe dif­fers from clas­sic ver­sions of co­conut slices con­sist­ing of short­bread, topped with jam and smoth­ered in des­ic­cated co­conut ( a lit­tle too much co­conut for my camp). In­stead of jam, the vi­brant cerise- coloured mid­dle layer is en­riched with an­tiox­i­dant- packed berries, adding a pleas­ant tart­ness that con­trasts with the sweet but­tery short­bread.

Med­leys of frozen berries that in­clude black­cur­rants are the best for a re­ally rich colour ( but they are not al­ways easy to come by as 10 per cent of black­cur­rants har­vested are sold to make black­cur­rant cor­dial).

While the berry fill­ing is moist, it is still im­por­tant to drain the juice away from the berries once they de­frost ( you can col­lect and save it for smooth­ies).

The upper layer is not a layer at all, but the mag­i­cal crispy crust that de­vel­ops dur­ing bak­ing. It is one of those happy oc­cur­rences that bak­ers de­light in.

This moist slice is sweet and gooey, ut­terly ir­re­sistible and to­tally ad­dic­tive. Sim­ply cut­ting them into squares will trans­form them from a mid- morn­ing pick- me- up to a per­fectly de­light­ful dessert, so keep this in mind be­fore you start di­vid­ing them.

What bet­ter use for the re­served berry juice than to mix it with some ic­ing sugar to make a sim­ple coulis that you can driz­zle over a pretty dessert plate.

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