White chocolate & cranberry slice
This slice (featured in my new book, Scrumptious) 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 glace cherries and candied peel – I wouldn’t do that to you. No, what we have here are deliciously chewy, tangy cranberries, crunchy macadamia and pistachio nuts with an incredible creamy white chocolate & cream cheese icing. I’ve finished it off with freeze-dried mandarins which are delicious if you can find them (in some 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. It won’t last long, either way!
FOR GLUTEN FREE: Use gluten-free flour mix in place of standard flour and 1/2 cup coconut in place of the rolled oats.
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla essence or paste
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 large free-range egg
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
150g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup rolled oats
¾ cup roughly chopped nuts (macadamia, pistachio, almond, cashew)
Extra nuts and dried cranberries, to decorate
Freeze-fried mandarin segments, to serve (optional)
100g good-quality white chocolate
150g cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180c conventional bake and line a slice tin (mine was 24cm) with baking paper.
Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring. When just melted, remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir to combine evenly.
Add the egg to the butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add the white chocolate, cranberries, rolled oats and pistachios, and stir.
Sift the flour mixture in and stir to combine evenly.
Scrape into the lined tin and press out into an even layer with clean damp fingers (or you can lay a sheet of cling film on top and press out on top of that).
Bake in the oven for about 17 minutes or until just starting to go golden. Cool in the tin.
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). Let it melt, stirring every now and then, until smooth. Remove from the heat. (If the chocolate seizes and goes grainy, try adding 2 tsp of rice bran oil and stirring).
Beat the cream cheese in a smallish bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and add the lemon juice, and beat until smooth.
Add a spoonful of the white chocolate, beat to combine, then repeat until all is combined. Spread on the cooled slice, sprinkle with the extra chopped pistachios, cranberries and crushed freeze-dried mandarins (if using). Refrigerate for an hour to set then slice with a hot knife.