Nana's lemon honey shortcake & caramel oat slice

In another baking tribute to my lovely Nana, I recently made her lemon honey shortcake & caramel oat slice. Both delicious. Both easy to make. I was chatting to my Nana the other day about how good it is to be able to bake delicious treats using readily available ingredients that don't cost an arm & a leg to buy. This is one of the reasons why I love my Nana's recipes so much - they call for basic ingredients that most of us will have in our pantry already.

Now, I must admit that the lemon honey filling for the shortcake let me down a little - for some reason I couldn't get it to thicken properly & as it's the filling, it does need to be thick enough not to spill out everywhere (like mine did!) once baked. So, to get to the bottom of what I did wrong & to save you from the same hassle, I've since had a chat with my Nana about what might have gone wrong & it seems that it can all hinge on the type of lemons you use. My Nana has recommended using Meyer lemons, which she has found to be the best for lemon honey. Some lemons (like the sneaky one I used!) can be too juicy & acidic & as I found with mine, no amount of cornflour or simmering will thicken the lemon honey properly.

Both recipes have been a hit with the lucky taste testers, but my preference would have to be the caramel oat slice. I love oats & caramel - they go together so well! 

Let's move on to the recipes. I've decided it would be nice to share with you the photos I took of these recipes straight from my Nana's handwritten recipe books. She has such beautiful, classic handwriting & I love looking through what must amount to hundreds of recipes that she has collected over the years. There's something really special about a handwritten collection of recipes & what's lovely is that my Nana will often write the name of the person she got the recipe from - be it a friend, neighbour or family member. Once she's tried making the recipe, she'll often make a note of her own tips & adaptations to remember for next time & rate each recipe with a tick (or two if it's really good!) or favourable comment. It must have taken many hours of writing to achieve such a comprehensive database of recipes & is such a personalised, unique record of my Nana's tried & tested recipes.

Lemon honey shortcake

Ingredients for the base & topping

6 oz softened butter
6 oz sugar
10 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

Ingredients for the lemon honey filling

3/4 cup water
1 oz butter
1 cup white sugar
Rind & juice of one Meyer lemon
1 tablespoon of custard powder (you could use cornflour if you don't have any custard powder)

Baking tin: Preferably a sponge roll tin or similar (I used a 27cm x 18cm tin which had a depth of 4cm).

What to do
  1. Make the lemon honey filling by adding the water, butter, sugar & lemon rind & juice to a saucepan & bringing to the boil. 
  2. Place the custard powder or cornflour into a separate bowl & carefully mix it with a couple of tablespoons of the hot lemony liquid to create a smooth paste. Then pour the paste into the saucepan & mix quickly to combine. Reduce to a simmer & stir regularly until the lemon honey has thickened enough to use as a filling. Remember that the lemon honey will thicken up some more as it cools. 
  3. Remove the lemon honey from the heat & set aside to cool.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 180 C static or 160 C fan bake.
  5. To make the shortcake, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add egg & dry ingredients & mix to combine.
  6. Divide shortcake mixture into two equal portions.
  7. Spray baking tin with cooking oil & line bottom & sides with non-stick baking paper.
  8. Press one half of the shortcake mixture into the tin.
  9. Pour over the lemon honey filling & spread evenly.
  10. Crumble the remaining shortcake mixture evenly over the top.
  11. Bake for around 20-25 mins or until the top has started to turn golden brown & the slice feels set when you gently push the middle with your finger. Note: mine took about 10 minutes longer to bake because I used a much deeper tin than your standard sponge roll tin. So, just monitor the baking time if you use a deeper tin. 
Leave the shortcake to cool completely in the tin before turning out & cutting into slices. Store in an airtight container.

Caramel oat slice

Ingredients for base

7 oz softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Ingredients for caramel filling

4 oz butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk (one 395 g tin will do the trick)

Ingredients for rolled oat topping

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
20 g melted butter

Baking tin: I used a 27cm x 18cm tin which had a depth of 4cm. This wasn't quite big enough so I ended up with loads of topping which I piled as high as I could! I would opt for something longer & wider - you could try using a sponge roll tin or some other suitable slice tin.

What to do:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C static or 160 C fan bake.
  2. Cream butter & brown sugar until light & fluffy. Add vanilla, flour & baking powder. Mix well to combine.
  3. Spray your baking tin with cooking oil & line bottom & sides with non-stick baking paper.
  4. Press mixture evenly into tin & bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven & set aside.
  5. Place ingredients for caramel filling into a saucepan & cook on a medium heat, stirring regularly, until thick & golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Place ingredients for the topping into a bowl & mix together.
  7. Spread the caramel filling evenly over the base & sprinkle over the topping.
  8. Bake for 25-35 mins until golden brown. Note: given the brown sugar in the topping, it will have a tendency to burn quickly so be sure to keep an eye on it. 
Leave the slice to cool completely in the tin before cutting into slices. Store in an airtight container.



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