Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI rather love September – not only because my favourite (!) son was born towards the latter end of the month but also because it’s full of new beginnings. A new school year begins with high hopes and  all the paraphernalia that goes with it – uniform, school shoes, pens and pencils, geometry sets, books, teachers and classmates. Only this year, as Jake enters what is known as Sixth Form (the last two years of school before University) there is no “uniform” other than the Sixth Form tie. All the boys must wear a suit (navy, charcoal or black), a white shirt and black shoes. He does go off to school looking terribly smart!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableMeaning to make a crumble to showcase a pretty bowl (I know, how shallow am I?), I bought some lovely blackberries and raspberries from the market. But making a crumble seemed akin to admitting that the summer was over – which I am not quite ready to do! The weather has been warm in that September sort of way and the trees seem determined to hang onto their verdant hues though there are a few on the turn too.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableIt didn’t seem right somehow to be making a winteresque pudding so I adapted the Peach and Amaretti Crisp I made last week to make a Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp. I used a spicy biscuit called Speculoo, added some ground ginger and walnuts to the base and topping and included that gorgeous Japanese citrus flavour called Yuzu in the icing. I used a golden icing sugar which is unrefined – it gives the icing a gorgeous caramel colour and flavour too. Any spicy biscuit will do – by spicy I mean with ginger or cinnamon – not chilli!! And if you can’t get ahold of Yuzu seasoning (please do look out for it – it is amazing in dips and with fish as well as cocktails) then use a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice along with some zest.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableA quick word on preparing pans for baking. I don’t think that enough emphasis is placed on it but it is essential to do this well so that your delicious and lovingly prepared bakes are easy to turn out and present. If you bake frequently, it is completely worth buying pre-cut circles, strips and rolls of baking paper. In the UK, Lakeland and John Lewis are great resources as are eBay and Amazon. It’s not necessary to grease and paper the tins but do use a few dabs of butter so that the paper sticks to the tin and doesn’t move about.

How to line a baking tinAnd how to easily paper a square or rectangular tin? You can either cut out two long strips that are as wide as the tin so that they cover the base as well as the sides or you can do what I do which is to turn the tin over then drape and cut off enough paper to fit over it. Make a neat pleat at the corners- as if gift wrapping then turn the tin over and the paper should slip straight in. For a circular tin, cut out a strip which is a little longer than the length of the circumference. Then make a narrow fold along the length of it and snip along it at an angle. Dab a little butter along the sides of the tin and place the strip along it with the snipped section flat against the base of the pan. Place a circle of paper on the base on top of the snipped section and you are good to go.  I have lots of tips that you might find interesting on my TIps and Tricks page. If you go over and take a look, do leave your best tips in the comments box. I will include them with a credit to you.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI’m taking my Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp along to Angie of the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday #32 – the weekly virtual get-together where we share fabulous stories and recipes from all over the world. Please do join in by seeing what is on offer or sharing a post. This week (as well as last week) Hilda from Along the Grapevine is helping Angie as a co-host. Hilda lives on a rather idyllic 7 acre property in Ontario, where she shares her stories and recipes of all the things she grows and forages on her land – this week it’s her incredible tomatoes – sigh! And Angie has brought a delicious Chilli con Carne – one of my favourite dishes! A huge thanks to both Angie and Hilda for hosting!!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableClick on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie and Hilda’s FF#32 posts – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g Speculoo biscuits (a spicy biscuit)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 275 – 300 g mixed soft berries I used raspberries and blackberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. While the oven is heating up, place the 20 g of walnuts on a tray and toast for 5 – 8 minutes. Cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Don’t take it too far otherwise you will have a nut paste rather than a nut flour. Set aside.
  4. Place the Speculoo biscuits in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs.
  5. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds, the ground walnuts and ginger and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  6. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  7. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  8. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; sort through the fruit and discard any mouldy ones.
  9. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the berries.
  10. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the fruit.
  11. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts and the reserved topping.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  14. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableWhen I first began baking, all those years ago in Canada, my Mum would always exhort me to to cut back on the amount of sugar that was called for. Invariably there was a lot of sugar in those recipes for cakes, cookies and bakes so reducing it was not too much of a hardship. It is something that I still do today. Even though I would like to think that modern recipes have dialled this down somewhat, I still find that I can usually cut back a little on sugar. I bake a lot but Jake has never needed a filling in his nearly seventeen years on this sugar mad planet. He doesn’t have a dentist phobia either!! When he was a baby, I used to make all his food – steaming, pureeing and freezing vegetables in ice cube trays – no added sugar, salt or preservatives! When he was a toddler, sweets were for Sundays and as he got older and developed a liking for fizzy drinks, they were reserved for occasions like restaurant meals or birthdays. I like to think he got off to a good start even though he does love a Mars bar!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableTrying to cut back on sugar meant that I almost didn’t post this recipe for Peach and Amaretti Crisp. I didn’t think the squares of Crisp were sweet enough but Jake had a friend round for dinner on Monday and they both thought that the squares were perfect. I didn’t add any sugar to the base as I thought the sugar in the Amaretti was enough (I had a taste of the dry mix just to make sure – the things I do for you, dear Reader..) but when I tasted a square without the glaze I came to the conclusion that my quest had gone too far. But  once they were glazed, they were absolutely delicious – just sweet enough to bring out the flavours of the peaches and the almonds.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThe amaretti are such a visual treat. These ones come in such a pretty tin, wrapped in papery twists; some with fringed edges. When I was married, we used to frequent a local Italian restaurant and they used to serve these with the coffee. My husband, replete with excellent food and Saint-Emillion, would roll the paper into a column place it on the tablecloth and set it alight. I, heart in mouth, would watch with a combination of terror and childish delight, as it would rise, flaming, off the table and burn to an ash.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThis Peach and Amaretti Crisp is quite a simple thing to make. Blitz the base which is also the topping, together, reserving a cup full for the topping and pat the rest into the prepared cake tin and bake for 15 minutes. While it is baking, make the peach filling which is essentially whisked egg, sugar and almond meal into which you fold the chopped peaches. The hot base is covered with the peach filling and the reserved topping is sprinkled over with some flaked almonds. While that finishes baking, the glaze can be prepared to be drizzled over the Peach and Amaretti Crisp when it is cold. You end with a mouthful of crisp, gooey, crunchy fruity, almondy deliciousness that is perfect with an espresso. So make the most of the seasonal peaches as the summer segues into autumn and make these – they make a very nice after school snack too!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's Table

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Adapted from Peaches ‘n’ Cream Bars by Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g amaretti biscuits (9 biscuits)
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 40 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp flaked almonds

For the filling:

  • 3 tasty peaches
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with baking parchment so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. Place the amaretti biscuits in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
  4. Add the flour, oats and almond meal and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  5. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  7. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; peel, pit and chop the peaches into 1 cm chunks.
  8. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the peaches.
  9. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the peaches.
  10. Sprinkle over the reserved topping and scatter over the slivered almonds.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  13. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake with Ginger Streusel

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streuselI have been meaning to make Karinna @ The Cheesy Biscuit’s Bramley Apple, Rhubarb and Marzipan Cake for some time now. I finally got my hands on some gloriously red stalks of rhubarb and settled in to make her cake when I realised that I didn’t have any marzipan. A fairly important component of this delicious sounding cake as the title will attest. So I put the rhubarb in the fridge  made a note to get some the next day. Except that neither my local Sainsbury’s nor the Aladdin’s cave of a Mediterranean grocery shop had any.  I needed to get to a larger store but I am so out of the habit now that it just didn’t happen. I turned to one of my favourite sites, Food52, and had a little rummage around and found a recipe for Rhubarb Buckle and Ginger Crumb. I had everything that was needed to make it so ploughed on. I will make Karinna’s cake as soon as I can lay my hands on some marzipan and more rhubarb!

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streuselGinger and rhubarb is a marriage made in heaven – last year I made the most delicious ginger ice-cream which I served with roasted rhubarb and orange zest but that is a recipe for another day. For this cake, I’ve adapted it a little by using Demerara sugar and almonds in the topping. I found that the rhubarb settled in the bottom half of the cake making it very moist but this was a nice contrast to the very cakey top half. The streusel didn’t stay on top either but tasted really gorgeous in the cake. This is a nice full batter that rises beautifully so make sure that you use a high sided tin rather than a shallow sandwich tin other wise you will have a cake lava situation on your oven floor! I used a 9 inch springform tin.

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

I picked up this pretty tablecloth in a French market in Aix-en-Provence a few years ago. It is the perfect backdrop for afternoon tea!

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

A printable recipe follows the photo tutorial so scroll down to print.

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

 

 

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake with Ginger Streusel

  • Servings: 8 - 10 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Food52 – Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb

INGREDIENTS

For the Streusel

  • 75 g Demerara sugar
  • 30 g flour
  • 70 g finely chopped crystallised ginger (not the ones in syrup)
  • 30 g sliced almonds
  • 40 g melted butter

For the cake

  • 220g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 85 g very soft butter
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 180 ml buttermilk at room temperature (or add 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to milk and let it thicken – 10 minutes or so)
  • 500 rhubarb, sliced finely

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Streusel

  1. Combine the sugar, flour, ginger and almonds and rub together until the ginger is both separated and coated with the flour.
  2. Stir in the melted butter and place in the fridge.

For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Butter the base and sides of a 9 inch cake tin with high sides – I used a springform which didn’t leak.
  2. Place the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and whisk to combine and aerate.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light an fluffy – this should take about 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add a third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, beating well. Add another third of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, finishing with the flour. Beat well after each addition.
  6. Fold in the sliced rhubarb and scrape into the prepared tin.
  7. Crumble the streusel all over the top of the cake and bake for 4o-50 minutes using a toothpick to test that the cake is done. You may even need to go to 60 minutes depending on your oven.
  8. Leave to cool in the pan. It tastes better the next day and is wonderful with a cuppa!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

rhubarb-buttermilk-cake-with-ginger-streusel

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal CakeOne of my earliest memories of baking is making coconut fingers with my grandmother. She would lay out a dish of shredded coconut and one of condensed milk, trim the crusts off white bread and slice them into fingers. I would carefully dip the fingers into the sticky sweet milk and then the coconut and lay them on a baking tray. We would both watch them through the glass door of the oven, pulling them out when they were toasty and golden. They were delicious – crunchy, sweet and chewy.

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake

I was instantly transported back to my childhood kitchen when I tasted the caramelised topping of this cake.  It’s not going to win any awards for its looks but, my goodness, it is delicious. The cake itself is dense and moist with the soaked oats but redolent with the flavours of  a carrot cake. I have developed it from the retro Lazy Daisy Cake that was popular in America in the 30’s and 40’s. There are some wonderful stories in the blogosphere about people’s memories of their grandmother making this cake and you know how I love a little history! This is a one bowl cake that just needs a brisk stirring with wooden spoon to bring it together. For a lighter crumb, you could make this in a more traditional way by not soaking the oats, creaming the sugar and butter, then the eggs and finally adding all the dry ingredients but that would take away from the “lazy” aspect of it. I do plan to make it in a more traditional manner to compare.

I left the cake under the grill/broiler for a little too long and burnt some of the topping – I scraped off the worst of it and put it back for another 30 seconds but really was not enamoured of how it looked. Jake came home from school and asked if he could try some, to which I replied, “Not until I’ve photographed it.” The next morning, (I know, I am so mean keeping him waiting that long but in my defence the light was terrible by the time he got home and this cake needed all the help it could get to look even remotely appetising!) I reluctantly tipped it out of  the tin and set it up for the camera, not feeling very inspired at all. It was an ugly, brown, lumpen slab not doing much, so I decided to slice it up into squares. I tried a  bit and was really taken aback at how gloriously tasty it was. I called Jake down to try some and he absolutely loved it – said the base tasted like a carrot cake and that the topping was amazing. A proper ugly duckling! Felt like I had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat…

I have developed this recipe from one I saw on Serious Eats but have cut back a huge amount on the sugar and added carrots, sultanas and spices to make it a little more nutritious. This is my version:

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake Measure the oats into the mixing bowl and stir in the milk and water – leave to soak for 20 minutes – also soak the sultanas in a separate bowl at the same time. In the meantime, grate the carrots and measure out and ensure the butter is really soft  (see my Tips and Tricks page for a few ways to achieve this if the butter too hard). Place the bowl back on the scales and add the sugar. Then add the salt, vanilla, carrots, butter and drained sultanas and stir really well to combine. The residual heat from the oats and sultanas will help to break up and distribute the butter. Beat in the eggs and coconut until combined.

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal CakePlace the bowl back on the scales and measure in the flour. Add the spices and baking powder and mix well. Scrape into the prepared baking tin and level out. Bake for 30 minutes.

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal CakePlace the same (unwashed) mixing bowl on the scales and measure in the two types of coconut, the sugar, the walnuts , the milk and the very soft butter. Stir really well to make a coarse mixture. When ready, remove the cake from the oven, turn on the grill/broiler and top the hot cake with the coconut mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible. Place under the grill/broiler just until the topping turns golden and caramelises – this should only take a minute or two – don’t walk away like I did as it does burn very quickly.

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake

Ugly Duckling Carrot and Oatmeal Cake

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake by Yvonne Ruperti on Serious Eats

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g rolled oats
  • 150 ml just boiled water
  • 100 ml milk
  • 75 g sultanas
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 115 g butter – very soft
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 100 g shredded carrot (2 medium ones)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g sweet shredded coconut
  • 180 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice

For the topping

  • 85 g butter – very soft
  • 75 g light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp/45ml milk
  • 150 g sweet shredded coconut
  • 50 g coconut flakes
  • 75 g walnuts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Stir together the oats, water and milk and leave for 20 minutes.
  2. Place the sultanas in a bowl and cover with just boiled water.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 175C/ 350F and grease or paper a 9″ square pan.
  4. Drain the sultanas.
  5. Mix the salt, butter, shredded carrots, sultanas, sugar and vanilla into the oats and blend with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  6. Beat in the eggs and coconut blending well.
  7. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and stir until just mixed.
  8. Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 30 mins or until just set.
  9. In the meantime, make the topping by combining all the ingredients.
  10. When the cake is ready, turn on the grill (broiler).
  11. Spread the topping as evenly as you can over the warm cake.
  12. Grill/broil for about a minute or two until it is lightly golden…the topping burns very easily so don’t walk away like I did (to write up this post!).
  13. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.