Gluten Free Belgian Slice
Takes 1.5 hours. Makes 9 large slices.
Belgian Slice, is a tray bake version of the Belgian Biscuits which is a biscuit originating from..... New Zealand. It is two layered spiced shortcakes with jam in the middle, with icing and jelly crystals on top. So why is it called a Belgian Slice then? Well, good question. In my research, it seems like that a distant ancestor of the Belgian Biscuit was the German Biscuit, later renamed to the Empire Biscuit in WWII, which was biscuit originally from... Scotland! Seems like there is little regard for countries of origin when naming baked goods.
My favourite slice
Back in my high school days, I had an after school/weekend job at a bakery. A gluten bakery!
Ah, those were the days. If you aren't from New Zealand, you might not know how many slices are available at the average bakery. There is peppermint slice, ginger slice, chocolate slice, tan slice, Belgian slice, custard slice, Louise slice, caramel slice... the list goes on. Anyway, so one of the perks of working at this bakery was that I was able to take home the offcuts of all these slices, and I never skipped out on that offer when it was the Belgian Slice. So this recipe has been a long time coming!
Making the base
It took me a while to get the base to work for me, without being too crumbly or dry so I went for a lighter base, more cake than pastry. The best tip I can give you for cooking the base is roll it out to the size you need before layering it in the tin. This will be especially helpful for the second shortcake layer, because the more you try push it into the tin, the more you will displace the jam layer.
I N G R E D I E N T S
For the slice:
125 grams butter (softened)
3/4 cup caster sugar 150grma
1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup
315 grams gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
3/4 cup raspberry jam
For the icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp softened butter
Red jelly crystals
M E T H O D
Preheat the oven to 180° celsius/bake and line a square tin with baking paper. The tin I use is 9x9 inches.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the golden syrup and beat again. Add in the egg and beat until combined.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and mixed spice. Mix together with a spoon until you have a firm dough - it should be easy to handle and not too sticky.
Divide the dough into two equal halves, and roll out each half to the size of the baking tin. Don't worry about this being too accurate, but it will help for when you layer the slice.
Place the first dough layer into the tray, and gently spread out to make sure it's covering the bottom.
Next, spread your jam evenly over the bottom layer.
Gently place the top layer of dough over the jam, and gently shape until it is spread evenly across the tin.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes in the tin, before removing it and placing on a rack to completely cool.
When the slice has cooled, whisk the icing sugar, butter, and two tablespoons of water together until you have a smooth icing.
Cover the slice with the icing and then immediately sprinkle over the red jelly crystals.
Wait until the icing has set before slicing into 9 (or more) slices!