It’s bucketing down here at the farm again, and there’s not much for me to do but sleep, cook or sit on the verandah sipping tea. We still have no power here after the big Australia Day Weekend Wet, but Ben has fired up the generator for a while and my biscuit tins are empty so I am on a mission. The workers are hungry, (they’re always hungry!) and this is an easy slice to make when you have electricity. In fact, with a bit of elbow grease I’ve made this with a wooden spoon, my bare hands and a camp oven over an open fire, but why bother when today I have a four hour window of oven-ready cooking time!
This is a very versatile slice. It can be made with any fruit you have to hand (I like apple, apricot and nectarine too), but I have a mammoth bucket of blueberries in the fridge from the local farmers markets last week, and we need to use everything up before it goes off. This slice eats well hot or cold. But keep it in an airtight tin in the fridge if you live in a warm climate. You can also make a double batch and freeze one for later. (Mind you I don’t think this batch will last that long…)
Note – this can also be made just as easily by substituting gluten-free flour, and I have done so many times.
Base – 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups of plain flour (all-purpose for my American friends), 1 cup of cold butter cut into small cubes (250 grams, 8 ounces or 2 sticks), 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, zest of one lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Hint – make sure the butter really is cold.
Fruit Filling – 4 cups of blueberries (or fruit of your choice), 1/2 cup of sugar, juice of one lemon, 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour. I heaped teaspoon cinnamon, reserved.
Method: Place the cubed butter and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and whizz to combine. You don’t want to mix it to a cream, you want to just barely combine it. Then add in the flour and baking powder and whizz again. Dump in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla and process one more time. The mixture should be soft and crumbly. Divide in two portions. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a scone knife to cut the butter through the sugar and flour, or rub it together between your fingertips.)
Press one half of the dough into the bottom of a baking paper-lined 28cm x 18cm (9 inch by 13 inch) slice tin. Don’t worry if it looks a little dry.
Now mix your sugar, lemon juice and cornflour together, and then mix thoroughly through your blueberries. Tip these over the base and spread out evenly with a spoon.
Mix the cinnamon through the remaining dough and then crumble over the top of the fruit, making sure to get the mixture right to the edges. Bake in a moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit ) for 45 minutes until golden brown.
Cool in the tin.
If you cut your slice while it is still warm it will bleed a little, but that’s the price you pay for immediate gratification.
Okay, my baking is done, the tea is made, the sodden workers have returned and the generator is about to go off again. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and well wishes. I’ll catch up with all your messages once I have an uninterrupted power supply.
Sending much love to you all from my well-provisioned little farmhouse island,
Nicole ♥ xx
PS. A very unhappy Bert and Harry waiting for the rain to stop…