Here’s another of our wool show cake tin standbys, this one definitely has a retro feel.
I’m not entirely sure where this recipe came from it may have been from a copy of Woman’s Realm or Woman’s Weekly, well thumbed copies of which were passed around the neighbours, when we were kids. It’s a version of Bakewell Tart merged with Congress Tart, the West Country equivalent, which is made with coconut but to redouble the sugar hit it has added currants and glacé cherries. Just what’s needed to keep us buzzing for an entire show.
This would have been made with margarine when we were kids, the block variety and the sweet shortcrust pastry would have been smothered in raspberry jam. All I had in times of Covid was apricot and that tastes pretty damned fine too. I have a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8in) loose bottomed flan tin but the type of shallow tin used for tray bakes would be good.
For a real nostalgia trip this sort of cake should be taken on picnics wrapped in waxed paper accompanied by ginger beer. My teeth are crumbling at the thought!
For the pastry:
225g/8oz plain flour
120g/4oz chilled butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 medium egg
For the filling:
175g/6oz softened butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
85g/3oz glacé cherries, chopped
120g/4oz desiccated coconut
85g/3oz ground almonds
50g/2oz plain flour
3 tbsps raspberry or apricot jam
For the pastry rub the butter into the flour until you have fine breadcrumbs or blitz it in a food processor if you have one. Stir in the sugar then add the egg and just enough water to form a dough.
Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so covered with an upturned bowl. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 (180°C fan).
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board and line a 30 x 20cm shallow tin. Line the pastry with foil or greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes then remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 (160°C fan).
For the filling, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy then gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the coconut, ground almonds, flour and dried fruit.
Spread the pastry case with a generous layer of jam, then spoon over the coconut filling and lightly smooth over the top.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer or in my case a knitting needle comes out clean. If the top seem to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
Once baked, remove from the oven and place the tray on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into about 20 pieces.
If you’re not going to feed a crowd the Paradise Slice freezes brilliantly.