A few years ago my aunty, Janelle, put together a book of my Nanna’s favourite recipes. All the grandkids received this recipe book at Christmas. It is such a treasured gift for me. I love to get it out and go through the recipes. Such great memories.
Every Christmas my Nanna would make a huge selection of slices and package them up to give away to family and friends. I loved going to visit and helping her bake. I’m sure I really just got in the way of her production line of baking but it was so much fun to stir this, add a bit of that and maybe occasionally stick my fingers into a mixture for a taste test.
I always marvelled at her baking. There never seemed to be a recipe sitting on the bench, yet she could produce about six different slices in one go, off the top of her head. I remember sitting at the bench one time trying to write down the recipes so I could make them at home. “How much milk did you just put in,” I would ask. “Oh, about half a cup,” she would say. “ Half a cup, or about half a cup?” I would ask. Apparently it didn’t really matter. Despite that fact that baking really is an exact science her slices always tasted so good.
“What was that you just put in?” I asked. “Brown sugar,” she said. “But last time you used caster sugar.” “Oh I change it up sometimes, just use whatever you have,” she said.
So over the next two months I am going to share with you my Nanna’s slices. I am following the recipes in the book I received for Christmas, but I can’t guarantee that it is the same way that Nanna used to make them every time she baked. But I can guarantee that they will be tasty!
Some of these slices aren’t specifically Christmassy, but they are all slices that Nanna made at Christmas. The first one I am sharing with you is Nanna’s Cream Cheese Slice, also commonly known as Lattice Slice. If you like cream cheese frosting you will love this one.
As with most of Nanna’s slices that I will be making, this one is easy to make. Just mix together the cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, icing sugar, vanilla and gelatine. Line a baking tray with a layer of the lattice biscuits, spread the cream cheese on top and line with another layer of the biscuits. Let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours and it is ready to eat.
The hardest part of this Cream Cheese Slice is cutting it. I don’t think I have ever been able to cut this slice without breaking the biscuits and making a mess of the cream cheese mixture. Somehow Nanna was always able to do it but I never learnt her secret. I’ve tried using a big knife, a small knife, a hot knife, waiting for the slice to set quite firm, and cutting it while it is still soft. No luck no matter how I do it. So on this occasion, for the sake of being able to show you something presentable I have left the slice pieces the size of the biscuits. This way I have only had to cut through the cream cheese mixture, not the biscuit. It is fine this way but they are quite big pieces. Some won’t complain about that though.
- 250 grams Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 125 grams butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons gelatine mixed in 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1½ packets Lattice Biscuits
- Line a baking tin approximately 28cm x 18cm in size with baking foil.
- Lay biscuits in base of tin with the caramel side facing up.
- Mix the cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, icing sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined.
- Add the gelatine and continue to mix thoroughly.
- Pour the filling over the layer of biscuits in the tin.
- Top with another layer of biscuits caramel side up.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours then cut into slices to serve.