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Travels of A Foodie Fan Girl - Virginia’s Fruit Fridge Squares

I’m sure it would come as no surprise that I go full-on fan girl at the sight of one of my favorite chefs. And Marcus Samuelson, shown below, has absolutely nothing to do with this South African recipe, except that he happened to be at the airport when I was flying there.

The chef I do want to talk about is Virginia Phejane. She is the cook at Madikwe Hillhouse - a game reserve in South Africa where I recently stayed. (See pages 12 & 13).

Virginia lives in a Mpumalanga settlement called Losmycherry. (I clarified that twice). Translated colloquially, it means “Leave my girlfriend alone.”

She started cooking with Hillhouse about 14 years ago, starting small, she said, collecting recipes and getting better each year.

Warm and welcoming, Virginia or her young counterpart, Kenneth, would be waiting for us after a game drive, with a wonderful spread.

This no-bake sweet treat was served to us at high tea one afternoon and it’s super easy. (It does use raw eggs, so use the freshest, highest quality you can find.)

INGREDIENTS

17 ounces butter (2 sticks and an ounce)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 packages Marie Biscuits*

2 cups citron

1/2 cup glazed cherry halves

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

METHOD

Grease a 13x9 pan.

In a large Ziploc bag, dump the biscuits. Seal and crush with a mallet or can. The mixture should have some chunks and not be as fine as sand. Melt the butter and sugar until the sugar dissolves.

Add the fruit mixes and boil gently for 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the eggs and vanilla.

Return to stove and boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

A bit at a time, dump in the nuts and the crushed biscuits.

When well mixed, pat into the prepared pan, compressing well with your hands or the back of a spatula.

Refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut in bars. Make yourself a nice espresso. Toast Virginia and chill.

*Marie Biscuits are made by many companies and are a type of thin, dry, round, slightly-sweet cookie, almost a cracker. They are popular in many parts of the world including South Africa. I bought these on Amazon. I’d never had them, and after tasting them, I’m glad I didn’t try to substitute them with something we had here.


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