Classic New Zealand Tan Slice Recipe

The Tan Slice, a quintessential New Zealand treat, is a delightful combination of buttery shortbread and rich caramel. This classic recipe, originating from cherished family recipe books, offers a simple yet indulgent experience. Perfect for afternoon tea, this slice is a testament to the joy of baking and sharing.Have you ever heard of Tan Slice? It’s like the unsung hero of New Zealand’s dessert scene. This delightful treat has cozied its way into the heart of Kiwi culture with its scrumptious layers of buttery shortbread, rich caramel, and that perfect pinch of sea salt. It’s the kind of dessert that has you reaching for just one more piece until, oops, it’s all gone!

A Brief History of the Tan Slice

From bustling Auckland bakeries to the quiet countryside ovens of Otago, the Tan Slice is as Kiwi as it gets. But where did it begin? Picture this: A kitchen filled with the sweet scent of baking, where generations have passed down the secret to the perfect balance of sweet and salty. It’s a bit of a mystery, really – like many family recipes, the origins of the Tan Slice are a patchwork of anecdotes and culinary whispers. Some say it’s a twist on Scotland’s Millionaire’s Shortbread, others insist it’s a homegrown invention. What’s certain is that it’s a slice of pure comfort, made with love and butter – lots of butter.

Key Ingredients in Traditional Tan Slice

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: what makes a Tan Slice tick? First off, the best ones always seem to have that homemade charm. You know, the kind that uses real, honest-to-goodness butter, and not that margarine stuff. We’re talking pure, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth golden goodness. Then there’s the flour – none of that pre-mixed business. Fresh, high-quality flour is the cornerstone of a crumbly, yet firm shortbread base that’ll hold up to all that gooey caramel we’ll talk about later.

Tan Slice’s Place in New Zealand Culture

Now, I bet you’re wondering just how deep this slice has embedded itself into Kiwi life. It’s not just a treat; it’s a social glue. It pops up at office parties, school fairs, and even at the halftime of rugby games. There’s this sense of nostalgia wrapped around every bite. Ask anyone in New Zealand, and they’ll surely have a story or two that involves a Tan Slice and a cuppa tea shared with friends or whanau (that’s Māori for family).

Ready to roll up those sleeves and get your hands doughy? Stay tuned, because up next, I’ll be walking you through your very own kitchen adventure, ensuring you’re armed with all the baking gear you’ll need. Trust me, with the right tools, you’re halfway to Tan Slice glory!

Assembling Your Culinary Toolkit

Hey there, fellow bakers! Before we roll up our sleeves to create the iconic Tan Slice, let’s chat about the tools of the trade. Think of it like gathering your armor before a bake-off battle—having the right gear can mean the difference between a good slice and a great one.

Must-have Baking Instruments

Now, every baker’s toolkit should start with the basics: mixing bowls, a sturdy wooden spoon, and a reliable rolling pin. But let’s not forget the unsung hero of every perfect crust—a precise measuring cup! These tools don’t just make life easier; they’re the building blocks for achieving Tan Slice nirvana.

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Rolling Pin
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons

The Optimal Bakeware for Tan Slice

Next up, let’s talk pans. For that golden, even bake, a non-stick square pan is your best friend. Trust me, you’ll want those sharp corners and flat edges to get the perfect slice geometry. Plus, a good non-stick surface means saying goodbye to the dreaded stick-age—because who wants to chisel out their masterpiece?

Substitutes for Uncommon Tools

But hey, what if you’re in a pinch and missing something? No worries! You can always improvise. Don’t have parchment paper? A light swipe of butter and a dusting of flour on your pan can work wonders. Missing a rolling pin? A wine bottle has been known to save the day. Creativity can be just as sweet as the slice itself!

Now that we’ve got our toolkit sorted, with our trusty spatula in hand, we’re ready to embark on the next step. And if you’re as excited as I am, your taste buds are probably doing the tango in anticipation. So, let’s tie those aprons tight, because up next, we’re diving into the world of full-bodied flavors and ingredient selection that will bring our Tan Slice to life!

Full-bodied Flavors: Ingredient Selection

Hey there, fellow sweet tooths! Isn’t it just the best when you hit the perfect balance of flavors in a dessert? Well, when it comes to nailing a Tan Slice that’s bound to make your taste buds sing, it all starts with the ingredients. And not just any off-the-shelf stuff, we’re talking top-notch, high-quality components that come together to create a symphony in your mouth. So, grab your grocery list because we’re going on a flavor adventure!

First off, let’s chat about butter—the unsung hero of any pastry, especially our beloved Tan Slice. The rule of thumb here is simple: the creamier, the better. Opt for unsalted butter with a higher fat content. It’s not just about richness; it contributes to that dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Now, onto flour. A good quality, all-purpose flour is your best bet for that sturdy yet tender crust. Sifting it before use isn’t just for show; it ensures your shortbread base is as light as a cloud.

But what really steals the show? It’s the homemade caramel. And trust me, making your own is a game-changer. The key to success here is patience and the right sugar. Go for a nice, golden brown sugar for its molasses-like undertones. Combine that with a steady low heat and a watchful eye, and you’ll whip up a caramel that’s the perfect blend of buttery and sweet with just a hint of that oh-so-necessary bitter edge.

Picking out your sweeteners and spices is not a step to gloss over, either. Sure, sugar is sugar, but choosing between raw, white, or brown can affect the depth of sweetness. And spices like vanilla or a dash of sea salt? They may seem small, but they are mighty. They’re the secret handshake, the wink across the room that turns your Tan Slice from good to ‘can’t-stop-eating-this’ great.

With your ingredients in hand, you’re well on your way to creating a masterpiece. But wait, don’t whisk away just yet! Next, we’re going to dive into the art of the crust. It’s all about getting that base to be just the right kind of crumbly—so stay tuned, because we’ve got some mixing magic coming up!

Masterful Mixing: Crafting the Perfect Crust

Hey there, fellow bakers! Let’s talk about the foundation of our scrumptious Tan Slice – the shortbread base. Now, this isn’t just any old crust; it’s the stage upon which our caramel star will perform. We want it buttery, we want it crumbly, and most of all, we want it to sing in harmony with that gooey caramel topping. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mixin’!

It Starts with the Basics: Butter and Flour

First things first, grab some high-quality, unsalted butter – the kind that makes you think of lush green pastures and happy cows. Soften it up, but not too much. You want it just pliable enough to cream together with sugar to create that fluffy wonder that will give our crust its tender structure. Now, the flour – oh, the flour! Go for the good stuff, the kind that promises to lend our base the perfect amount of crumbliness.

The Sweet Symphony of Sugar and Dough

For that slight sweet touch, we’re looking at caster sugar – it’s fine, it’s delicate, and it’ll blend into the butter like a dream. Once you’ve got these pals nicely creamed together, it’s time to introduce them to the flour. Gently now, we’re not making bread here. We’re aiming for a dough that whispers rather than shouts.

  • Start by creaming together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Sift in the flour, combining it lovingly with your hands or a pastry cutter
  • Gently press the dough into your lined baking tin, creating an even layer

After pressing the dough into our lined baking tin, we give it a little chill in the fridge. Why? Because we want to stop the butter from running off the stage when it hits the heat. Plus, it helps prevent over-spreading – we’re looking for a standing ovation, not a doughy disaster.

Prickly Details: Preventing the Puff

Before this beauty goes into the oven, give it a gentle prick all over with a fork. This isn’t just for looks; it’s practical, too. It helps our crust stay beautifully flat and free of unwanted puffing as it bakes to golden perfection.

And speaking of baking, keep a keen eye on your oven. All ovens have their quirks and personalities, but we’re aiming for a delicate golden-brown crust that’s just set enough to hold our caramel but tender enough to melt in the mouth.

With our shortbread base tickled by the heat and blushing with a golden tan, we’re ready to move on. But don’t you worry; this isn’t the end of our baking journey. Next up, we’ll be stirring up some caramel magic that will crown our crust like a jewel. So, stick around, things are about to get even sweeter!

Masterful Mixing: Crafting the Perfect Crust

Hey there, fellow bakers! If you’ve ever dreamed of making a Tan Slice that gets all your friends talking, you know the crust is where the magic starts. It’s not just about throwing together some butter and flour – oh no, it’s much more nuanced than that. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s mix up a crust that’ll be the talk of the town!

The perfect shortbread crust whispers secrets of craftsmanship and care. Begin by selecting the right kind of flour – one that’s fine and soft. The type of flour can make or break your crust, and we want ours to be unbeatably tender, right? As for butter, it’s the unsung hero. It’s gotta be full-fat, my friends, full-fat and properly chilled for that divine fluffy and crumbly texture.

Masterful Mixing: Crafting the Perfect Crust

Hey there, fellow baking enthusiast! If you’re like me, then you’re all about that crisp, divine shortbread base that makes a Tan Slice truly unforgettable. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands buttery as we craft the perfect crust.

First things first, the quality of your butter is non-negotiable. Room temperature, high-fat, unsalted butter is your BFF here because nothing beats that melt-in-your-mouth texture it provides. As for flour, I’m talking about the good stuff – we want a sifted all-purpose flour that will give us a delicate crumb without making it too dense. It’s all about that light, airy feel as it crumbles perfectly in every bite.

Now, onto the fun part: mixing. Sure, we might get a little messy, but that’s half the fun, right? Begin by creaming your butter until it’s as fluffy as a cloud. Once accomplished, you’re going to whip in your sugar until it’s just the right amount of sweet seduction.

Gradually introduce your flour to the mix and let’s tread lightly; we’re aiming for a dough that

Full-bodied Flavors: Ingredient Selection

Hey there, fellow bakers and sweet tooths! Isn’t creating something from scratch just the best? It’s like waving a magic wand, except it’s your wooden spoon, and viola, you’ve got something yummy! Today, we’re zeroing in on the heart of the Tan Slice—the ingredients that make or break this Kiwi classic.

Choosing the Finest Butter and Flour

Firstly, butter is your best mate here. We’re talking about the good stuff – creamy, full-fat, and absolutely divine. This isn’t the time for skimping, my friends. You’ll want to aim for unsalted butter, as this will give you full control over the tan slice’s seasoning.

  • Pssst! A pro tip: let your butter reach room temperature to blend seamlessly into your shortbread mixture.

Now, for the flour, it’s all about texture. Hunt down some high-quality all-purpose flour to get that perfect, crumbly shortbread foundation. Organic, stone-ground flour can add that little extra whisper of flavor and texture.

The Art of Crafting Homemade Caramel

Moving on to the showstopper of our Tan

Masterful Mixing: Crafting the Perfect Crust

Hey there, fellow baking enthusiasts! Today, we’re talking about the heart and soul of the Tan Slice – its shortbread base. This isn’t just any crust; it’s the foundation that’s going to carry those layers of gorgeous caramel. The key to a standout Tan Slice is a shortbread that’s both tender and sturdy, and I’m here to guide you on how to achieve that blissful balance.

First thing’s first – getting your hands dirty (figuratively, of course, because hygiene matters, folks!). Start with room temperature butter. Why? Because your butter needs to be pliable enough to blend seamlessly with the sugar, but not so warm that your dough becomes greasy.

Next, let’s talk sugar. You want to use just the right amount to add a gentle sweetness and ensure a crisp texture. Remember, we’re creating a base that complements the caramel, not competes with it. Once your butter and sugar are creamed to light and fluffy perfection, it’s time to introduce the flour. A sifting adventure awaits! Sifted flour is a must to avoid any lumps that could turn your masterpiece into a crumbly tragedy.

Ingredients :

  • Base / Crumble:
    • 260g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 125g granulated sugar
    • 375g all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Caramel Topping:
    • One 400g (14oz) can condensed milk
    • 75g unsalted butter
    • 70g golden syrup
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
    • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the Oven and Pan: Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9″x13″ baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal.
  2. Make the Base: Cream butter and sugar until pale, then mix in dry ingredients. Reserve 165g of the mixture for the crumble.
  3. Form the Base: Press the remaining mixture into the pan and chill.
  4. Create the Caramel Layer: Combine condensed milk, butter, and golden syrup over low heat. Cook until thickened and pour over the base.
  5. Add the Crumble: Sprinkle the reserved base mixture over the caramel.
  6. Bake: For 23-25 minutes until golden. Cool completely before slicing.

FAQs:

  • Can I use light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar? Yes, light brown sugar can add a deeper flavor but may alter the texture slightly.
  • How do I store the Tan Slice? Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Can I make this gluten-free? Substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend for a GF version.
  • What if I don’t have golden syrup? Honey or maple syrup can be used, though the flavor will differ.

 

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Classic New Zealand Tan Slice Recipe


  • Author: Clare
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Multiple servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

The Tan Slice, a quintessential New Zealand treat, is a delightful combination of buttery shortbread and rich caramel. This classic recipe, originating from cherished family recipe books, offers a simple yet indulgent experience. Perfect for afternoon tea, this slice is a testament to the joy of baking and sharing.


Ingredients

Scale
  • Base / Crumble:
    • 260g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 125g granulated sugar
    • 375g all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Caramel Topping:
    • One 400g (14oz) can condensed milk
    • 75g unsalted butter
    • 70g golden syrup
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
    • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Oven and Pan: Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9″x13″ baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal.
  2. Make the Base: Cream butter and sugar until pale, then mix in dry ingredients. Reserve 165g of the mixture for the crumble.
  3. Form the Base: Press the remaining mixture into the pan and chill.
  4. Create the Caramel Layer: Combine condensed milk, butter, and golden syrup over low heat. Cook until thickened and pour over the base.
  5. Add the Crumble: Sprinkle the reserved base mixture over the caramel.
  6. Bake: For 23-25 minutes until golden. Cool completely before slicing.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: New Zealand

Keywords: Tan Slice, Caramel Shortbread, New Zealand Dessert

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