Last month was laden with a lot of buttery treats (see Anzac Biscuits and Armenian Nazook) so I decided I’d better get hubby back on track with some low cholesterol baking again this month. We’ve got a rather large weekend of eating coming up in Melbourne next month so it certainly isn’t a bad idea to get on a mini health kick beforehand!
So what to bake? Fortunately, I had some inspiring items arrive at my door last month to work with. On top of the fabulous Urban Locavore box I ordered for March, I discovered a lovely box of goodies from Beerenberg Farm waiting for me at the office when I got back in from our Queensland holiday. The box included their new blueberry jam which I hadn’t had the chance to try yet. Score!
I do like to use jam as jam was intended (fresh bread, French butter and good jam is a total cure-all for me) but it’s also a pretty nifty ingredient to use for other purposes, particularly when you need a shortcut in busy times. I’m thinking that’s what the good folk at Beerenberg Farm had in mind in bringing out a series of recipes as part of their latest campaign: Making Food Amazing. I will be announcing a little giveaway in relation to that shortly :)
I’ve always enjoyed New Norcia Bakeries’ Benedictine Slice which consists of a lovely, short pastry base with jam and flaked almonds on top. I thought I’d take a stab at making a healthier, vegan version of this slice using Beerenberg Farm’s blueberry jam. For those who aren’t burdened by cholesterol concerns, please feel free to use all the butter you want :) This recipe is adapted from Bill Granger’s as featured in Lifestyle Foods. Please use that recipe if you wish to make this non-vegan and without a Thermomix.
I think butter would have made the flaked almond layer a little more crispy but I felt consolation in knowing that I baked something that was heart smart for hubby. The slices were lovely and chewy in parts thanks to the blueberry jam and the whole pieces of fruit were nice little surprises here and there.
Blueberry Almond Slice
(makes about 12 slices)
210g Nuttlex or similar vegan margarine (use 210g of butter if preferred)
140g caster sugar (I used the Low GI sugar from CSR)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
150g flaked almonds
30ml almond milk (or soy milk, etc.)
190g plain flour
35g whole oats
40g corn flour
1/3 cup Beerenberg Farm blueberry jam (or whatever jam you have on hand)
To Make: Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20x24cm or similar tin with baking paper. Place oats in TMX bowl and blitz on Speed 7 for a few seconds until roughly ground. Set aside in spare bowl. Add 50g of margarine, 50g of sugar, vanilla, almond and almond milk in TMX bowl. Combine at Speed 1, 60C for one minute. Set aside in another bowl and allow to cool. Add ground oats, flour, corn flour, remaining sugar and remaining margarine in TMX bowl and combine at Speed 4 for a few seconds or until a soft dough is formed. Place dough in lined tin and spread out evenly. Bake pastry layer for 12 minutes and allow to cool a little. Spread jam evenly over the pastry layer and then cover with the almond mixture, ensuring the almonds are spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If the almond mixture is bubbling then the topping is ready. Cool completely before cutting in to squares.