There were many great cooks in the district where I grew up, but Mrs Schulze was the best. At birthday parties or suppers after the school concert, we all eagerly looked for a plate of her jelly slice or hedgehog. The jelly slice had a crunchy biscuit base, a soft tangy cheesecake-like centre and was topped with a slab of gloriously red wobbly jelly, while the hedgehog was deliciously chocolatey and studded with nuts and chunks of marie biscuit.
Mrs Schulze was the person who supervised and assessed us when we went for our cooking badge for Brownies. It was a little intimidating stepping into her kitchen but she was a generous teacher and we all proudly received our badge to sew onto our Brownie uniforms. But alas! we did not save the recipes.
After finishing high school, I moved to Melbourne to study at university so it's been more than a decade since I've sampled Mrs Schulze's cooking but I can still picture and taste her slices - the memories grow more fond as the years pass. So I was thrilled when Mum recently obtained the famous jelly slice recipe and passed it onto me. We tested the recipe by making a plate for my son's first birthday party and it quickly disappeared, so it appears there are many jelly slice fans out there. One note regarding the jelly topping: you may need to use less water than specified, as you want the jelly to set quite firm so that it doesn't slide off as you eat it.
MRS SCHULZE'S JELLY SLICE
1 packet marie biscuits
180g melted butter
400g can condensed milk
juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons gelatine, dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water
1 packet jelly crystals, made up with 1 1/2 cups water
To make base, mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press into the base of a slice tray.
Blend the condensed milk with the lemon juice and dissolved gelatine. Spread over the base and refrigerate until set.
Make up the jelly, cool before pouring over the slice. Chill until set.