This recipe comes from an article in the Sunday Star Times from December 7, 2008. The article is headed “Simply the Zest”. This title is very appropriate and clever as the slice is zesty and the recipe is very simple to make and it tastes ‘simply the best’, so the title sums it all up perfectly. Mum and I were very fortunate to get this recipe from Mum’s neighbour, and I can see this will be a staple recipe in the canon of recipes we have. This slice has a lovely balance of citrus flavours and the icing is citrus flavoured too by using orange juice instead of water.
The original title of the recipe in the article is “Kaitoke Country Gardens, Lemon Citrus Slice”. Kaitoke Country Gardens is on the Main Road North, in Kaitoke, near Upper Hutt. Since the newspaper article is over 6 years old, I am not sure if the cafe is still there. Robyn Meek, who managed the cafe at the time is quoted as saying “the slice is embarrassingly easy” and “user-friendly” meaning you can tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes (see notes below for some examples).
A reader of the Sunday Star Times requested the recipe as she was very taken with the “tautologically descriptive lemon citrus slice”. So true about the tautology, that’s what struck me when I first read the title, but we’ll go with it, as it adds emphasis on the citrus aspect of the slice. So, for even more emphasis I have added more tautology to the title by naming it “Lemon and Orange Citrus Slice”, because the orange is very important too.
I like making slices using crushed biscuits as the fun part is crushing the biscuits. We put the whole biscuits into a plastic bag (made of fairly sturdy plastic), then I like to start the crushing process by standing on the biscuits (like crushing grapes), then taking a rolling pin to them and bashing them. This is better than using a food processor which creates too many fine powdery pieces.
Lemon and Orange Citrus Slice
100g butter, melted
½ can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup desiccated coconut
250g packet wine biscuits
Grated zest of a lemon or an orange (or combination of both)
[we used ¾ lemon zest and ¼ orange zest]
Crush the biscuits (not too finely) and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, then turn mixture into a shallow slice tin (mixture should be about 1cm thick). [We used a 26 x 19 cm slice tin.]
Ice, then refrigerate until cool. Cut into squares and store in the refrigerator.
1 ¼ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
Juice of 1 orange
Extra lemon and/or orange zest to decorate
[As a tip: an easy way to juice an orange is to place the orange in a fine netting (as this holds in the pulp and pips), then squeeze the orange.]
Mix together butter and icing sugar. Add orange juice gradually, until a spreading consistency is achieved. Spread on to slice and scatter with extra zest.
A ‘retro’ photo, styled by Mum.
Dry fruit can be added to the mix. For example, half a cup of chopped dried apricots, or the same quantity of chopped crystallised ginger, or dates.
Mum and I would like to try this recipe using gingernut biscuits with crystallised ginger, leaving out the orange flavour but keeping the lemon.
Mum packaged up some of this Lemon and Orange Citrus Slice for me to take home, and as I write this, I am enjoying a piece of the slice – with every bite I think, ‘wow this is a great tasting slice’. I tend to go for sweet things that include chocolate or cocoa as it is a safe bet that it will taste good (which is a bit like dressing in black as a safe bet too in that go-anywhere-black-always-looks-good kind of way), but this slice has made my tastebuds come around to the idea that citrus in this context is pretty darn good.