Like all good stories, we should start at the beginning:
1. Cherry ripe bars (not the slice below, I’m talking about an actual chocolate bar here) are Australia’s oldest chocolate bar. It’s not hard to be the oldest thing of anything in Australia, but when something is, we respect that.
2. Cadbury, the makers of the bar, describe it as “… ripe juicy cherries and moist coconut smothered in rich Old Gold dark chocolate …”
3. What the marketing team doesn’t mention is you can’t get them in London. This is a problem for me.
This recipe was printed in the The Guardian Weekend newspaper. so armed with three packets of glace cherries, I gave it a shot. It’s delicious. So good. I took it to a BBQ and another couple of Australians there said the taste was just the same as the chocolate bars.
Next time I make it though, I’m going to half the base. I’m more about the chocolate and the cherries. But other taste testers at the above BBQ liked the base as is. I’ll post an update once I try it.
Before I launch in to the recipe I would like to issue a challenge:
You can either chop up the cherries needed for this recipe by hand or use a food processor. If you have a child under 10 (who you trust with a knife) I think you should let them chop the cherries. Then email me at a picture of the resulting cherries/child combo at email@example.com. I promise to post it. *hehe*
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
100 grams butter, softened
¼ cup cold milk
Ingredients: Cherry filling
600 grams glace cherries
125 grams sweetened condensed milk
1 ¾ cups desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Ingredients: Chocolate topping
250 grams dark chocolate
4 teaspoons olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160C fan-assisted, 350F, gas mark 4).
2. Take a 18cm square cake tin, preferably one with a removable base, and line bottom with baking paper. Spray with cooking oil for good measure.
3. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the butter until it’s worked through and all the lumps have gone.
4. Add the milk and mix to a soft, even dough.
5. Press firmly and evenly into the base of your prepared tin.
6. Set to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set and dry on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Method: Cherry filling
1. Put 400 grams of glace cherries in a food processor to mince very finely. I did start this process by hand (see above) which is possible with a bit of patience. But very sticky. I then borrowed a food processor from my neighbour. Much quicker.
2. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla until you have a smooth, pink paste.
3. Cut the remaining cherries in half, stir through, then spread evenly over your cooling base (doesn’t matter if it’s not completely cool).
Warning: even through the base has been cooling and the sides are cool, the bottom is still piping hot, don’t try and pick it up with your bare hands to put it back in the oven (guess how I learnt that lesson).
4. Bake at the same temperature for a further 25 minutes or until it starts to go golden on top.
5. Refrigerate until the slice is cold – about two to three hours.
Method: Chocolate topping
1. Place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread over the slice.
4. Refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut with a heated knife. This will take a bit of muscle. I had two tall cups full of boiling water to assist with the process.
But it’s worth it. Oh, it’s so worth it.
Cut in to 2cm squares, this makes 30.
Healthy? It’s no fruit salad love. 200 calories per slice.
Gluten free? The base is not. The GF recipes I have seen just substitute the flour with GF flour, but I haven’t tried it. With all the butter and sugar, I think it would be fine and bind well enough. Or, you could do something like:
Gluten free alternate for base
170 grams digestive type GF biscuits from the supermarket, crushed
60 grams butter, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa
Combine the digestive biscuits, butter and cocoa together. Press firmly into the base of the tin. No need to cook it for this method. Then just add the cheery mixture on top and keep going as above.
Storage: In an airtight container.
Source: Modified from The Guardian Weekend “How to bake: cherry ripe bars” by Dan Lepard p. 63. 18 July 2011.