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Festive Nanaimo bars


Makes: 16-18
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:
Festive Nanaimo bars
Recipe photograph by Tara Fisher

Festive Nanaimo bars

Named after Nanaimo – a harbour city on Vancouver Island – these layered no-bake bars are chewy, chocolatey and so delicious

Makes: 16-18
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
590Kcal
Fat
36gr
Saturates
18gr
Carbs
60gr
Sugars
50gr
Fibre
4gr
Protein
6gr
Salt
0.2gr

John Whaite

John Whaite

John Whaite is a British food writer, television presenter and cookery school owner. He won series three of The Great British Bake Off and has released several cookbooks. 

See more of John Whaite’s recipes
John Whaite

John Whaite

John Whaite is a British food writer, television presenter and cookery school owner. He won series three of The Great British Bake Off and has released several cookbooks. 

See more of John Whaite’s recipes

Ingredients

For the base
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300g HobNob biscuits, bashed to fine crumbs (replace with gluten free sweet oat biscuits, if required)
  • 100g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 100g dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 100g dried prunes, roughly chopped
For the filling
  • 4 tbsp custard powder, sifted
  • 375g icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g soft unsalted butter
  • 75ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp sherry, or orange juice
  • zest of ½ orange
For the topping
  • 300g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
  • 30g unsalted butter, diced

Step by step

Get ahead
These keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or can be frozen.
  1. Line a greased 20cm x 30cm baking tin with baking paper. For the base put the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla into a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Stir, allowing the butter to melt and everything to mix together. Add the eggs and stir in just until the mixture feels hot to the touch – you must keep stirring while the bowl is over the heat. When the mixture is hot, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the biscuit crumbs, nuts and dried fruit. Tip into the prepared tray, level out with a metal spoon, and chill for an hour.
  2. For the filling, gradually beat the sifted custard powder and icing sugar into the soft butter, to a crumb-like consistency. Add the cream, sherry and orange zest then use an electric whisk to beat until pale, thick and smooth. Tip onto the chilled base and level out. Cover loosely and freeze for an hour to firm up.
  3. Put the chopped chocolate into a clean heatproof bowl with the butter. Set over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt together. As soon as the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat – wipe the base of the bowl so no water drips onto the Nanaimo bars – and pour the chocolate onto the frozen filling. Level out as smoothly as possible with a spoon or small offset palette knife. Then chill for another hour or so in the fridge.
  4. To portion the bars, dip a sharp knife into a jug of very hot water and allow the heat of the knife to cut through the chocolate and filling.

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