Fruit Nut Slabs
This recipe was popular with many of my students who made it every year for Deepavali. They keep well for 8-10 days at room temperature, and longer in the refrigerator. They can be cut into 2cm squares, and packed to be given as a Deepavali gift.
For the base
- Butter 1/3 cup
- *Brown sugar 1/3 cup
- Almond essence few drops
- All-purpose flour (Maida) 1 cup
For the topping
- Mixed dry fruits 1 cup, firmly packed (300gm approx.)
- Mixed nuts ½ cup
- Grated coconut 1 cup
- Condensed milk ½ tin (200ml)
Line a 20-22cm square baking tin with parchment or greased butter paper so that the paper covers the base and the sides of the tin, and comes 2-3cm above the sides of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Beat butter and sugar till they are well combined. Beat in the essence.
Add the flour and mix lightly till the mixture is a soft dough. Place the dough in the prepared tray and press it evenly to cover the base. Place the tray in the preheated oven (I use Panasonic OTG), and bake for 15 minutes.
While the base is baking, chop the fruits (choose from raisins, dates, apricots, figs, prunes and cherries) and the nuts. (I have used cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts)
Lightly roast the grated coconut on low heat till pale brown. Combine the fruits and nuts. Sprinkle the coconut over it and mix with finger-tips. (This will separate the clumps of fruits formed while chopping).
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the baked base. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the fruit nut mixture and return the tray to the oven, and heat for 30-35 more minutes till the condensed milk is lightly caramelized and is golden brown. Take out the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Lift the cooled slab out of the tray, carefully peel away the paper and place it on a cutting board. Cut into squares/bars of desired size. Store in an air tight container.