I like to have a home-baked thing on hand to stick in Arty’s lunch box on kinder days. I don’t always have my shit together in time to make that happen but I do my best, and he likes it.
Today it was stinking hot, so I decided that obviously it would be the perfect time to get the oven on and start experimenting (the fuck, Essie?).
The result was this:
Strawberry coconut slice
For the base:
- 170g butter, softened
- 130g caster sugar
- 250g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the jam layer:
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 250g strawberries, hulled (frozen is fine for this)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
For the coconut topping:
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 eggwhites
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°c, and line a 21cm square slice tin with greaseproof paper.
- Cream butter and sugar until pale and light.
- Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla, and stir to combine.
- Carefully press this mixture into the lined tin, and refrigerate while you complete the following steps.
- Place apple, strawberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan, and cook over a medium heat for about 20-30 mins, until the fruit begins to break down and the liquid thickens. Stir it regularly throughout this process to keep it from catching. Set aside to cool.
- Beat eggwhites in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks begin to form. Add the sugar and continue to beat until you have a meringue-like mixture.
- Carefully fold in the coconut until well combined.
- Remove the base from the fridge and bake for 10 minutes, until it begins to brown on top.
- While the base is baking, use a stick blender to puree any larger lumps out of the jam (this is an optional step, but I prefer my jam with minimal lumpy bits and so does Arty).
- Once it has browned, take the base out of the oven, and spread the jam over the top of it, leaving a border of approx 1cm around the edges.
- Gently spread the coconut meringue mixture on top of this, being careful not to allow them to mix into a big pink mess.
- Return the slice to the oven, reduce the heat to 160°c, and bake for a further 15 minutes, keeping an eye on the meringue to ensure it is browning nicely.
- Remove from oven, and allow the slice to cool before removing it from the tin and cutting it into portions. I got about 12 from this, cutting them with relative generosity.
The shortbread base really makes this slice. It’s light and golden, but it holds the whole thing together. Not spreading the toppings all the way to the edge will create a lovely biscuity lip which is completely delicious.
In spite of the layer of jam, they’re surprisingly low-key in the sweetness department. They hit that snacky spot without becoming cloying or leaving a big sugar-buzz in their wake.
I’m calling this a very successful experiment!