I have to admit that I have a slight reliance on photos when it comes to choosing recipes. With 101 recipe books on the shelf, if it hasn't got a picture, the recipe tends to go back on the shelf and another book is searched through. It's a shallow habit I know, I should have more faith in the craftsman... and in my own cooking for that matter. Determined to change this, I set about finding my oldest recipes, those without even a description, let alone a picture, in a hope to find some hidden gems - those passed down recipes which I had set aside to make way for another shiny new cookery book.
So did I find one you might ask? Well the answer is most definitely yes. I've entitled this recipe 'Mum's slice' because it was mum who always made it for me, but I think it's real heritage stretches back a little further judging by the paper... mum thinks it was passed down to her from her mum or possibly even her gran (I didn't even know they had almond essence back then!). It's one of those recipes that I have enjoyed eating for many a year, but one I've never looked at on paper or enquired about further - too busy enjoying it I suspect!
There's always something nerve-wracking about adapting a family recipe, something that's been cooked in the same way for years - and if I've enjoyed it so much, why change it? But I had a little yearning, a little adaptation I couldn't help but try. The dry ingredients always consisted of semolina and self raising flour, with the almond flavour coming from the essence. So I decided to substitute some of this for a bit of ground almonds, to compliment the essence. I'm pretty happy with the result, but I still love the original - so feel free to just swap the ground almonds back for self raising flour if you'd prefer.
Ingredients and method:
Rub together 140g semolina, 110g self raising flour, 30g ground almonds, 140g caster sugar and 140g margarine.
Add 1 beaten egg and half a tsp of almond essence (I always find the smell so nostalgic!) and mix to a stiff paste.
Press half the mixture into a lined, square cake or swiss roll tin (or just greased and dusted with flour) - mine was a square 18cm/18cm tin.
Dot with blackcurrant (or any flavour you fancy) jam (about 130g) and then spoon on the second half of the mixture in small pieces to cover most of the jam.
Scatter about 30g flaked almonds on the top and cook for about 30mins at 180 degrees c (I'd check after 20mins).
Leave to cool slightly, turn out of the tin and then leave on a wire rack to cool before storing it in an airtight tin (I often don't cut it into slices until I serve it so as to keep it as moist as possible).
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