To those Kiwi bloggers who live in Auckland, Zarbo Cafe & Delicatessan will require no introduction whatsoever. I was first introduced to Zarbo by one of my dearest friends, Julia. Julia and I saw each other through many trials and tribulations, from the wild and mis-spent days of our twenties, to more "grown-up" times in our forties, including marriage and children (in her case) and marriage and divorce (in mine). Sadly I lost Julia to her long battle with cancer about four years ago, and it saddens me greatly that now in my fifties (which I happen to think is the best time of my life so far) I cannot share this time with her. But while she was still alive, Zarbo was "our place" - it was the place we used to frequently meet at and hang out together whenever I was visiting Auckland, and when they published their first cookbook, "Zarbo, Recipes from a New Zealand Deli", Julia was quick to gift me a copy.
I miss Julia's friendship a lot, and think often about those long afternoons sitting in Zarbo, nattering over a cup of coffee (or two) and a piece of cake or slice. So today when I was looking for a contribution to this month's Sweet New Zealand blogging event (more about that in a minute), I knew that I would find the perfect little something in my trusty Zarbo book. The "Hello Rosie" Slice on page 95, was exactly reminiscent of the kind of thing Julia and I would have shared, though I have made a few changes. The first change was more by accident than intent - because I am an idiot, and didn't read the recipe correctly, my chopped nuts ended up in the base instead of the topping - an accident I didn't discover until the slice was actually in the oven!! I was worried that the end result would be something altogether too crumbly, but the slice has held together just fine and doesn't appear to have suffered in anyway from my mistake. Accordingly, that is exactly how I have instructed you here, but if you feel like putting the nuts back into the topping, then go right ahead. I also made a few substitutions - I have used cashew nuts instead of walnuts, dried apricots instead of sultanas, and white chocolate instead of dark. I think you could easily experiment with all sorts of different fruit, nut and chocolate combinations in this recipe. I hope you will feel inspired to have a go and come up with one of your own special combinations to share with someone close to your heart.
The Sweet New Zealand monthly blog event was created by the very sweet Alessandra Zecchini, and is hosted this month by the equally sweet Alli at Pease Pudding. This is an opportunity for all Kiwi bloggers (whether you are living in New Zealand or overseas), as well as for non-Kiwi bloggers living in New Zealand, to connect and share some of those sweet treats from your kitchen. You can find a round-up of last month's special treats on this page of Alessandra's blog, or go and visit this page of Alli's blog to find out how you can join in this month. Alli will be posting a round-up of entries at the end of the month. I think I'm only just going to manage to slip in under the wire with this post, but if you feel like joining in and you don't have time to conjure up something new, you are welcome to link up an older post.
Now on with the recipe ...
Apricot, White Chocolate & Cashew Nut Slice Recipe
Makes 18 bars
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
For the base:
100g butter, melted
250g malt biscuits, crushed
2 cups raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped
For the topping:
1-1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped dried apricots
3 cups long strand coconut
500g sweetened condensed milk
Grease a 20cm x 30cm (8 inch x 12 inch) slice tin, line with baking paper, and set aside.
Mix the crushed biscuits, chopped nuts, and melted butter together, and press into the tin.
Mix the chocolate, apricots, coconut and condensed milk together and press over the base.
Bake at 160 degrees C (320 degrees F) for approximately 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Take care not to overcook as the finished slice should be sticky, chewy and slightly moist. If you find that the slice is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of baking paper until finished cooking.
Leave until cold before slicing.