I seem to have formed many of my childhood memories around food, for example I remember being shocked as a six year old being served a whole fish, head and eyes included, on holiday in France, or ordering “dos of them please” pointing at doughnuts in spain when I was seven and not knowing a word of the language. Sometimes the food in those memories sticks with me for years. One of those memories is Nanaimo Bars. When I was eighteen I spent a month travelling across Canada from Calgary over to Vancouver Island, travelling across the Rockies and visiting family in Vancouver. It was one of the best holidays I have ever had and the memories will stick with me for a very long time. The two foods that I often crave from the trip is Tiger Ice Cream and Nanaimo Bars. Tiger Ice Cream is so different and wondeful, its licorice ice cream swirled with orange ice cream and trust me the stuff is seriously good. Nanaimo Bars come from a town in western Canada and they are a stupidly simple, no-bake recipe. They are rich and indulgent so of course I love them. This recipe was given to me by Jane of http://www.virtuousbread.com/ (on twitter as @virtuousbread) and its really good.
1/2 cup (113g) melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups biscuit crumbs
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup (56g) butter, softened
2 tblsp custard powder mixed with 3 tblsp milk
2 cups icing sugar
85g dark chocolate
1 tblsp (14g) butter
1. Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with foil and set aside. Melt the butter over low/medium heat, stir in the sugar and cocoa powder then slowly whisk in the egg. stir for a minute or two until the mixture thickens
2. Take off the heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients and press tightly into the prepared pan, refrigerate until firm.
3. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, beat in the icing sugar and the custard powder mixture until smooth, (I added a couple more tblsp of milk to lighten it a little) spread over the base layer and refrigerate until firm.
4. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water then spread over the custard layer, refrigerate until set.