I first made this recipe a few months ago and I have to say, I found the name Paradise Slice somewhat misleading.
When I think of paradise in relation to food, it brings to mind exotic and tropical fruits – like mango, pineapple, guava and mangosteen. I also associate flavours such as lime or coconut and alcohol like rum or cachaca.
Now, it should be said that this recipe does contain coconut, however I don’t feel that sultanas or ground almonds really help me envisage myself lying on a tropical beach somewhere, with the waves of the sea murmuring in the background.
But perhaps I am being unfair, should the name Paradise Slice really matter? After all, when it comes to cooking surely it is the taste that holds the most weight? And on that front this recipe doesn’t disappoint. I would describe it as a cross between a Bakewell Tart and a sponge cake.
We could describe it as a slice of soft and crumbly shortbread, with a thin layer of jam (I used homemade rhubarb as the slight tartness is a nice contrast to the sweetness, but you can really use any flavour you like).
And finally this is topped off with a delicious sponge made from ground almonds and coconut with soft, succulent sultanas (or raisins) dotted throughout.
This sweet is truly delicious, and perhaps that is what was meant by paradise slice – paradise in flavour and taste! Whatever your interpretation of the name be warned, as one slice is not enough and you may find yourself going back for more!
OTV Cuisine: Paradise Slice
Makes 16 Slices
For the shortbread
- 175g unsalted butter, diced
- 75g caster sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 100g ground almonds
- finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon (optional)
For the sponge
- 120g jam (raspberry, strawberry or any other)
- 110g unsalted butter, diced
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 150g desiccated coconut
- 75g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 110g sultanas
- Place all the ingredients for the shortbread in the bowl of a food processor and reduce to crumbs.
- Keep the motor running until the mixture comes together into a ball.
- It will be very soft and sticky at this point.
- Press the mixture into the base of a 30 x 23cm non-stick traybake tin, 4cm deep.
- Lay a sheet of clingfilm over the top and smooth out the surface with your fingers.
- Cover the tin with clingfilm and chill for 1 hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 160°
- Prick the shortbread all over with a fork and bake for 25-30 minutes until just beginning to colour.
- Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190°
- Work the jam with a spoon in a bowl until it is smooth and spread it in a think layer over the shortbread base using a palette knife.
- Now for the sponge. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and cream together, then incorporate the eggs.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and fold in the coconut, ground almonds, baking powder and sultanas.
- Spoon the mixture on top of the jam(on the shortbread) and spread it out in an even layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sponge has set and the top is golden.
- Run a knife around the edge of the cake and leave it to cool.
- Cut it into two long halves, then across into 2cm slices.
- Dust with icing sugar and transfer to a plate.
Recipe: Adapted from Annie Bell