Last week I pledged to celebrate Heritage month by giving some of our favourite South African treats a bit of a twist. If you haven't tried my milk tart pancake recipe, do it! You really won't eat pancakes any other way again. When I was in the Klein Karoo a few weeks ago I was given the most beautiful homemade apricot jam from a tannie that owns the tuisnywerheid and after seeing the little hertzoggie tarts on the shop shelves, I instantly knew what I wanted to do with the sweet spread.
I absolutely adore hertzoggies; with their crisp shortbread cups, jammy centres and fluffy, coconutty (that's a word) topping they are just the perfect accompaniment to a cup of rooibos tea. My only problem with them, is they're a bit of a pain to make. Well, in their defence, any little tart is a mission. So these slices are my shortcut to sweetness.
The shortbread base is actually the very first recipe I copied down from my mother's cookbook into my own little book and it's such a winner I use it for a thousand things. From cookies, to bars to tart crusts, it's definitely a keeper. If you're not an apricot jam fan, give the bars an even more modern twist and swop it out for fig, strawberry, raspberry or whatever you can get your hands on.
250g butter or margarine
¾ cup castor sugar
1tsp baking powder
2¹/3 cups cake flour
²/3 cup corn flour
1-2 cups apricot jam
3 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups coconut
For the pastry, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg followed by the baking powder, flour, corn flour and salt. Press the pastry into a 30 x 20cm greased baking dish and refrigerate. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then beat in the castor sugar until thick and glossy. Fold in the coconut. Remove the pastry from the fridge then spread with the apricot jam. Spread the coconut meringue topping over then bake at 170C for 30-35 minutes or until the top is slightly golden but the shortbread is cooked through. Slice into blocks and serve.
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