Nanna’s cookbook – Lemon and coconut slice

When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to do was work through my Nanna’s handwritten cookbook, which is full of recipes she collected throughout her life. Her handwriting however is quite difficult to decipher and there are minimal instructions, so it is quite a big task.

Nanna's cookbook
Nanna’s cookbook

I was reminded of this the other day when I was browsing through other people’s blog posts and came across a recipe for lemon and lime coconut slice by Daisy and the Fox. Instantly I thought of my Nanna’s lemon slice and knew I had to make her recipe this weekend.

My Nanna was a very important part of my life and one of my first cooking memories is making pikelets with her. She also taught me how to spin, knit and crochet. I am so lucky to have had her in my life and I often think of her and miss her.

After she retired, she moved to be closer to us (my brother and I were her only grandchildren). We often stayed with her on weekends and over the holidays. She also often picked me up after school, and looked after me when I was home sick. For my first two years of high school I went to a private school that was about 45 minutes from home (longer with public transport). Often the bus wouldn’t pick us up and I was having issues with my health. Nanna started driving all the way there and picking me up. She always had an afternoon snack waiting for me, like this slice.

I was thinking about this and other memories of my time with my Nanna while I was making the slice. Isn’t it wonderful how food can remind us of the people we  love and evoke memories of them and our time with them?

Nanna's original handwritten recipe
Nanna’s original handwritten recipe

Nanna’s lemon and coconut slice



  • 250g (1 pack) milk arrowroot biscuits
  • 125g margarine or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • Grated zest of 1 – 2 lemons (I used 2 as I like a lot of zest)
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk


  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar – sifted.
  • 15g margarine or unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on how much lemon you want and/or if the mixture is too thick)


  1. Line a slice tin with baking paper. I used a 24cm x 24cm tin.
  2. Process the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble bread crumbs.
  3. Melt the butter (or margarine) with the condensed milk in a small saucepan and then add to the ground biscuits with the coconut and lemon zest. Mix until combined and then press into the lined tin.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. To make the icing, melt the butter (or margarine) in the hot water, placing briefly in the microwave if needed. Add the lemon juice and then add to the sifted icing sugar. Mix until smooth and combined. If too thick, add a little more water or lemon juice. If too thin, a bit more icing sugar.
  6. Pour the icing over the set base, smoothing with a palette knife (heat the knife in some hot water to make it easier to smooth). You can top with extra coconut if you want. Return to the fridge for a few hours until set and then cut into pieces (my icing was not quite set when I sliced it).
The icing wasn't quite set when I cut them
The icing wasn’t quite set when I cut them

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6 thoughts on “Nanna’s cookbook – Lemon and coconut slice

  1. This slice is delish :)- it has the perfect amount of lemon in it. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories and food:)

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