The lovely V shot me a challenge: what could she do to use up jars of jam?
I'm sure many people - like V - are looking at a motley collection of almost-empty jars of jam that really should be used up before the next season of jam-making begins over the coming summer months.
My immediate answers were jam drops or a jammy bread and butter pudding; a little later I remembered my jammy cheesecake cake, too. This was proving to be a much easier challenge than CC's, which was to come up with ten uses for panko crumbs (I'm working on it!).
But then V and I got googling (as you do). Google 'what to do with leftover jam' or some variation and you'll realise this is a common affliction. V found a layered slice with a streusel topping, which a few days later she reported was easy to make with her young daughter and very delicious, too.
I remembered the old-fashioned slice that layers cakes, jam and a coconutty-macaroony topping. Of course - a morning tea classic!
I consulted two authorities for my recipe: my favourite 'More cakes and slices' by the Australian Women's Weekly and the charming 'Ladies, a plate', the anthology of New Zealand home cooking collected by Alexa Johnston (if you don't have this book, it's worth perusing for the lovely linens and tattered recipes used to illustrate it).
Did you know in New Zealand this is called a 'Louise cake'? And if you make a variety using a chocolate base, it is called 'Elizabeth square'? But of course! What serendipity.
So if you need to use up your mum or auntie's raspberry jam before she hands over your 2013 batch, here's the ideal solution. After jam drops, jammy B&B pudding and jammy cheesecake cake.
Jammy meringue slice
Base and general instructions adapted from AWW's 'More cakes and slices'. Meringue topping from Alexa Johnston's 'Ladies a plate'. You'll know this is ready when a sweet, toasty aroma fills your kitchen, and the top looks like a golden cloud. Take a bite and you'll think 'cloud', too - a crisp meringue puff that collapses delicately in your mouth. The jam layer should be a tart variety to contrast with the sweetness of the light-as-air topping. Enjoy slowly, with your eyes closed.
- Prep a small slice tin (mine measures 16 x 28) and preheat oven to 180.
- Cream 90 grams soft butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 egg. Then stir in 1/4 cup SR flour, 2/3 cups plain flour and 1 tbspn custard powder. Spread in prepared pan (mine mix was both stiff and sticky, so be prepared for some fun!).
- Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven to cool for 8 minutes (if you have nothing else going on in your oven, turn the temp down to conserve some energy).
- While it's cooling, whip 2 egg whites to stiff peaks, then beat in 115 grams sugar and 55 grams dessicated coconut (next time, I shall whip the whites to soft peak stage then add the sugar and proceed to stiff peak stage - I would have liked the sugar dissolved a little more).
- One your 8 minutes is up, spread the base with jam of your choice (I think this would also be excellent with a lemon marmalade) - not too thickly - and then top with the meringue. Sprinkle over a little more coconut; I used the longer shredded coconut for this.
- Get your oven temp back to 180 if you turned it down, and bake for another 25 minutes or so until the top is golden.