The recipe for this yummy apricot slice came from Alison Holst's " Fast and Fun Family Food" which I reviewed when I was the resident TV3 foodie . I have made it often since and can vouch for its deliciousness.
100-150 g dried apricots
¼ cup orange juice or sherry
75 g butter
½ of a 400-g can of sweetened condensed milk
½ cup of brown sugar
250-g packet of wine biscuits
½ cup of coconut
• Finely chop the dried apricots and cook them in the orange juice or sherry in a large pot until there is no liquid left. Add the butter to the apricots in the pot, and stir until it melts over a low heat. Add the condensed milk and brown sugar, then heat gently, stirring often, until the sugar is no longer grainy, and the condensed milk is golden brown.
• Remove from the heat and stir in the biscuits which have been finely crushed, and the coconut. (The easiest way to crush the biscuits, if you do not have a food processor, is to put them in a large plastic bag, sealed with a rubber band, and bang them with a rolling pin.) Sieve the crushed biscuits and crush any large remaining pieces.
• Stir everything together , then press into a 20-cm square tin, which has been lined along the bottom and two sides with a strip of lightly buttered baking paper, or a Teflon liner, and sprinkled with extra coconut, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into small rectangles.
• Store in the refrigerator to keep the mixture firm.
An extract from Fast and Fun Family Food: with food photography by Lindsay Keats. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $35.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide.
Here is the original review which was published on Monday, September 2009 on the TV3 website ( Lifestyle section)
Reading Alison Holst’s new book “Fast and Fun Family Food” was a walk down memory lane as I recognised some of the recipes which are published again here, and which have been used in our family over the years.
It was Alison Holst who came to our rescue with her “Meals without Meat” (which she wrote with her son Simon) when my children went through their vegetarian stage. When my son left home it was this recipe book he wanted to take with him and I’m sure a well thumbed copy still resides at his house.
Her new book is more than a repetition of what has gone before. Some of the recipes have been replaced by easier versions like her pikelet recipe. And her shortbread recipe, unlike an earlier recipe is now without ground almonds. Sadly some of our old favourites have been left out, like her much eaten crustless quiches and her famous Pineapple Christmas Cake. But there are other new recipes to take their place.
Alison’s mission is to encourage families to cook healthy meals and to enable children to learn basic cooking skills. And inspired by her zeal many will give it a go. But how will this book go down with my granddaughters, 3 new millennium girls whose favourite foods are butter chicken and sushi and who snack on hummus and rice crackers. No recipes for these are featured here.
Luckily these café girls also like muffins and pizza and little cakes so her book will come handy for those. They would I am sure, especially adore making her lamington birthday cake, a gorgeous pink and white confection but I am not sure if I’m up to bits of coconut scattered all over my kitchen as well as jammy fingerprints! Alison Holst could do it with them I’m sure but sadly I lack her organisational skills.
We will try out some of her other recipes. They are fairly traditional but I think they will like them as retro is in and they’re up with the play. I may draw the line at her mini hot dogs made from flat slices of saveloys but her alphabet soup would be educational, and I think they will love making her orange juicicles and cheesy dip.
With Alison Holst’s book at the ready we’re in for some happy family times in the kitchen, and this is exactly what she had in mind. The layout is clear, the recipes simple and easy to follow and the pictures are pretty. Before too long I may even be able to let my granddaughters loose on their own in the kitchen, as Alison Holst and her sisters were apparently allowed to do as children, and let them cook to their hearts’ content while the rest of us lounge about watching telly.
This weekend I cooked some of the recipes from her new book and they went down well. Her lasagne recipe was a breeze to make and the kind of food children like to eat. For dessert I cooked the Berry Buckle, a traditional American recipe.
The cake mixture was layered with fruit which sank into the cake as it cooked and it was topped with a spicy crumble topping. We enjoyed it with yoghurt served alongside. Alison placed it in her popular puds chapter but I think it would also be nice for brunch as it is fruity and not too sweet.
Once the granddaughters were safely tucked up in bed, and out of the way I quickly made Alison’s delicious apricot slice. I have made other versions of this slice before but hers is the nicest so far, as cooking the apricots in sherry (or orange juice for the kids) softens them and adds to their flavour. And cooking the condensed milk until it turns a light golden brown makes for a delicious caramel taste.
Once the slice had been chilled for a while in the fridge, and was firm enough to cut, I made a small platter of goodies for the adults to snack on for the evening. On it went Alison’s apricot slice, a circle of brie, a sliced nectarine, and a little pile of cashew nuts. Alongside we each sipped on a small glass of Muirlea Rise Wine liqueur which had been lurking at the back of a cupboard since 1997 after we had made a brief foray to the vineyards in Martinborough. It had aged well and alongside Alison’s apricot slice made for a very pleasant evening!