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
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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.

Quick Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche Cake with Cocoa Nibs

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsAt this time of year we are all so busy making the most of the summery weather and produce that baking can take a back seat – who wants to switch on the oven when it is so hot? Well, this unassuming looking cake  is one that I love to make early in the morning before the day has had a chance to heat up – it is quick to come together and only takes 25 minutes in the oven. The creme fraiche keeps it moist and the nutty browned butter gives it a wonderful depth of flavour that is caramel like with the brown sugar.

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsBrilliant to take on a picnic or take to a barbecue. This is also a wonderful cake to have as a pudding too if you have people over – gently sauté some banana slices with a little butter and sugar (and perhaps a dash of orange juice or Cointreau) until caramelised and serve with a slice of the cake, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and perhaps a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

On another note; do you find that sometimes when you bake, your biscuits/cookies either brown too much or not enough even though you have followed instructions carefully? Blamed the recipe? Blamed the oven? Well, I came across this article on King Arthur Flour twitter feed – The Secret to Perfectly Browned Cookies. It’s all about the finish on your baking sheets and no, you don’t need to buy new ones; just adjust the timing once you have identified your sheets.

Well, I hope you are ready to party! I am co-hosting Fiesta Friday #24 today along with Indu @ Indu’s International Kitchen and Hilda @ Along the Grapevine. Indu has some truly amazing Keralan recipes as well as a host of healthily ones on her blog. Hilda lives on an idyllic 7 acre property, forages and documents her tasty results on her blog. Do pay them a visit and say hello!

If you would like to join, we would love to have you! Please do read the guidelines here, which are very simple. Well, let’s Fiesta!

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibs

Quick Brown Butter Cake with Cocoa Nibs

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml creme fraiche (or yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk)
  • 60 ml milk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanlla
  • 165g plain/AP flour
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3Tbsp cocoa nibs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of 9 or 10 inch non stick pan.
  2. Measure out the brown sugar into a large mixing bowl, rub out any lumps and set aside.
  3. Measure out the flour salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl; give it a light whisk to aerate and combine and set aside.
  4. Get the rest of the ingredients to hand – not something I do normally but this cake comes together so quickly that it is best to do so.
  5. Over a medium low heat, melt the butter in a small stainless steel saucepan (the lighter colour of the pan means that you can see when the butter is brown). It will start by getting frothy and then really foam up. The butter starts to brown when it starts smelling nutty. Do not walk away from the pan at this stage; lift the pan off the heat and swirl to settle the foam and see what the colour of the butter is keep it over the heat but not on it while you are doing this.
  6. Pour it over the sugar, scraping in all the nutty brown sediment that will have settled at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Whisk with a handheld mixer until the sugar look like damp sand – about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the creme fraiche, the milk and the 2 eggs and whisk, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. The mixture will not thicken but it will be very liquid – make sure that it is well mixed about 2 or 3 minutes in total.
  9. Stir in the flour mixture and with a light hand, stir to combine – do not over mix.
  10. Gently stir in the cocoa nibs .
  11. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden. Test by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer – it there is any batter clinging to it, pop the cake back in for another couple of minutes.
  12. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  13. Lovely plain with a cuppa or served as a pudding with pan-fried bananas, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
© 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.