Wednesday 25 September 2013

Blackberry & Apple Crumble: a quick photo post

Blackberry & Apple Crumble

For the crumble:
70g plain flour
60g cold unsalted butter
40g light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of fine sea salt

For the filling:
1 big cooking apple
3 or 4 small eating apples (preferably plucked straight from the tree)
a good squeeze of lemon juice - approx 1 tbsp
50g light brown sugar
a big handful of blackberries (preferably wild, plucked from the hedgerows with stained hands as you amble along on a Sunday walk)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350C. Tip the flour into a mixing bowl then cut the butter into small cubes. Add the cubes to the flour and rub in until most of the butter is worked in but you still have a few small lumps. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Fill a mixing bowl (I had to change the one in the photo above as it was too small) with water and add a good squeeze of lemon. Peel, core and chop the apples, placing the chopped bits into the lemon water so they don't brown while you do the rest (both types together weighed roughly 475g for me). Drain the apples the stir the brown sugar through. Tip half of the apples into a medium sized baking dish then scatter half of the blackberries on top. Add the remaining apple, then the remaining blackberries. Spread the crumble over the top in an even layer. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until bubbling, the apple yields easily to a knife when poked and the topping is golden brown.

Serve slightly cooled but still hot with custard, ice cream or cream.

(Serves 4-5)

Three other apple posts:
2010: Spiced Apple Cake
2011: Apple & Quince Pie
2012: Apple Fritters

Thursday 12 September 2013

Blackcurrant Baked Alaska: A Guest Post

Today's post is over on the little loaf. Kate's a blogging friend that has become an offline friend through a series of dinners (along with Kathryn). Every time we've met in the last year or so, talk has turned to Kate's wedding (I love weddings and wedding chat), so I'm honoured to be filling in for her while she's on honeymoon.

One of the first things we bonded over was ice cream (and a mutual love of David Lebovitz's recipes for it). I knew when she asked that I needed to do something frozen. A few years back I made a mountain range - the Baked Alps - for a Daring Bakers challenge. I was never satisfied with the recipe and so it seemed like the perfect time to update it.

So here it is - a soft sponge base, blackcurrants roasted with brown sugar, David's vanilla ice cream and French meringue, all baked. It's messy, it's rather a big portion and it's absolutely glorious to eat. The post and recipe can be found here.

Three recipes of Kate's I'd like to try:
Bourke St Bakery Croissants
Caramelised White Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Bars

Thursday 5 September 2013

Chocolate Cardamon Cookies

These cookies are fragrant, rich, delicate and dark.

These cookies are full of cocoa and spiced with lots of freshly ground cardamon.

These cookies are the perfect thing to stash in the freezer for those moments when only a cookie will do.

These cookies have got me drinking milk again, though they're also good with tea.

I can't find any more words today. These cookies are still worth sharing.

Chocolate Cardamon Cookies
(inspired by Signe Johansen's Scandilicious Baking, created with my shortbread recipe)

100g unsalted butter, from the fridge
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamon (approx 10 pods)
90g plain flour
35g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
a big pinch of fine sea salt

Blend the butter, sugar and cardamon together in a food processor until you have a paste. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and pulse just until you have a dough. Tip the dough onto a big sheet of cling film then roll into a thick, short sausage of about 5cm diameter. Chill in the fridge for an hour until firm.

Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut as many thin slices of the dough as you want to bake - they should be about 5mm thick. Place on the tray then bake for 7-8 minutes - the middle will have risen slightly. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. I bake them as I need them and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge (for a few days) or the freezer (for a few weeks). Eat on the day you bake them - they are at their best when just cooled.

(Makes 15-17 cookies)

Two more posts with cardamon:
Cardamon Orange Pound Cake
Cinnamon-Cardamon Kringel Bread
...and one with vanilla: Whole Vanilla Bean Biscuits