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Zena's Slice

February 20, 2008

When I was a young journalist, part and parcel of the working week were “night meetings”. I spent a number of years working as my newspaper’s health reporter so my night meetings included the monthly hospital board meeting or gatherings focussing on health-related matters.

Occasionally we’d get a bit of culture and be assigned to review a local drama society performance. Because I was learning singing, I invariably landed the musicals. Sometimes these would be in a satellite city on the opposite side of town from my home, so Jack, a fellow reporter who lived there would invite me round for dinner with his family beforehand. His wife Zena was a good baker and I was an inveterate recipe collector. This recipe is a souvenir of one of my meals there.

The original was called Coffee Caramel Slice, but to me it’s always been Zena’s slice. While Jack and Zena have both passed on, this recipe always reminds me of them and their kindness.

Zena’s Slice

120g butter
180g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup cornflour
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon cinnamon
raspberry jam

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and sifted dry ingredients. Press into a sponge roll tin and spread with jam.

2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fold other topping ingredients into whites. Spread over slice. Bake 30 minutes at 180C. Cut when cold.

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