Cranberry and White Chocolate Slice

3:10 pm on 30 September 2016

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 18 minutes

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or paste
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1¼ cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 150g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped mixed nuts (macadamias, pistachios, almonds, cashews) - or choose one
  • extra chopped nuts and dried cranberries to decorate
  • crushed freeze-dried mandarin segments to decorate (optional)

Icing

  • 100g good-quality white chocolate
  • 25g butter
  • 200g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Method

This slice tastes even better than it looks - and in my humble opinion, it looks freakin' amazing! Don't be fooled into thinking this is one of those Christmassy larks full of glacé cherries and candied peel. No, what we have here are deliciously chewy, tangy cranberries, and crunchy macadamia and pistachio nuts with an incredible creamy white chocolate and cream cheese icing. I've finished it off with freeze-dried mandarins which are delicious if you can find them (in most supermarkets and specialty food stores). This slice makes a delightful homemade Christmas gift - or just keep it in the fridge to enjoy with a cuppa.

Preheat the oven to 180°C regular bake. Line a slice tin (mine was 24cm square) with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted. When just melted, remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and stir to combine evenly. Add the egg to the butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add the chocolate, cranberries, oats and nuts, and stir. Sift the flour mixture in and stir to combine evenly. Scrape into the prepared tin and press out into an even layer with clean damp fingers (or lay a sheet of cling wrap on top and press out on top of that).

Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes or until turning golden. Cool in the tin.

To make the icing, break the chocolate into pieces and add to a heatproof bowl with the butter. Fit over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let the water touch the bowl). Heat, stirring every now and then, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. (If the chocolate seizes and goes grainy, try stirring in 2 teaspoons rice bran oil.)

Beat the cream cheese in a smallish bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar, add the lemon juice and beat until smooth. Add a spoonful of melted chocolate, beat to combine, then repeat until all is combined. Spread on the cooled slice, sprinkle with the extra nuts and cranberries, and the freeze-dried mandarin (if using). Refrigerate for an hour to set, then slice with a hot knife.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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