Posts Tagged 'butter'

apple and raspberry crumble

i cant come up with anything really coherent to say – about this crumble (which i felt to be disturbingly good and completely inspired) or anything else for that matter. i got broken by an unfortunate train of abuses, principally among them, physical exertion to the point of paralysis and because of, or perhaps as a result of that, intellectual stasis which has left me entirely unable to finish this sentence. so i will give to you this recipe which i made up – and i love love love it. and if my brain hadn’t melted i would tell you why. but as it is, i cannot and so i suggest you make it for yourself and see.


2 apples

1 punnet of raspberries

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

tsp vanilla extract

60g melted butter

100g chocolate chopped (either white – if youre using raspberries because obviously. or dark – dark with raspberries would also be a delight)

preheat oven to 190 degrees. melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside.

mix together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. add some cinnamon if you choose. i chose no.

pour over the melted butter. the original recipe had 85g melted butter but it was too much and it started to get too wet. i then had to add more flour. so i say 60g and i think thats probably right. but just check its consistency. should be like wet sand. not a wet mixture though.

then add chopped up chocolate.

put raspberries and apples into ramekins and fill to nearly the top.

crumble over the crumble.

bake for 20-30 minutes.


braised greens

also known as “the green thing”. having been given unutterable amounts of homework, and having been under the misapprehension that there was no such thing in this degree (it most certainly wasnt what it looked like in the brochure), and having then been exposed to a lively debate between americans in paris about why the gravel in the gardens of the tuileries is dusty, i decided i needed to move away from the books and return to the kitchen. this recipe was something i found in gourmet traveller and it was one of those things which seemed to elicit expressions of interest from ordinarily disinterested parties. dinners proper hasnt been done for so long that there was a lot of debate, hesitation, fear, uncertainty, hurdles, obstacle, and even some unpleasantness along the way. but its easy and delicious and though it was suggested that the cos lettuce could be substituted with a more elegant green vegetable, i am quite sure that its perfect how it is. thats pretty much all i have to say about this but the problem is, when this post is up, its back to the books. so ill tell you a quick story – a new bakery opened up around the corner from me. its done everything right, it drew me into its buttery web with its french name, its promise of pastries baked twice a day, its baker rolling out his dough at the front counter for my viewing pleasure, its staff crouching in the back alley with a cigarette in one hand and a cup of tea (in a glass) in the other in the early hours of the cold winter morning, evoking images and dreams of all i hope to be. but, and theres no gentle way of putting this, they are shit. from the outside their pastries look exquisite, layers of golden brown flaky pastry wrapped around a still warm, and so melting stick of chocolate. almond croissants with the perfect crisp looking almondy top. but bite into it and its doughy. there, i said it. doughy and uncooked. their bread stinks. and they are a sham. but why? why why why? how is it that they have so much right and yet underneath the surface its so wrong? dont they care? dont they love their pastries? arent they artisan? dont they realise the world shattering disappointment they have caused. and because of their appearance, they have me returning regularly because surely the last croissant, and the one before and the one before that were aberrations. each time i leave with what should be a little brown paper bag of heaven in my cold, frail hands, the promise of perfection is cruelly and unusually shattered, replaced only by a doughy aftertaste and a profound sadness for all that could be and all that never was. i cry out (internally, not yet audibly), i wish i knew how to quit you, but there is no response. only silence. the silence of baker that just doenst care.

unhappiness aside…here is the recipe for something that made things feel somewhat better and to some extent was able to fill the void between dreams and reality.


2tbsp olive oil

375ml stock (chicken, or vegetable…as you wish)

40g butter

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 cos lettuces quartered

400g peas (baby, and probably frozen)

250g sugar snap peas (snow peas will do if your supermarket is crap – but at least it doesnt claim to be anything other than what it is) halved lengthways

first, in a fry the garlic in the olive oil. the recipe also fried off a shallot but i didnt want the onion taste to interfere with what i was trying to do. once soft, not burnt, add in the butter and cook til foaming. then add the stock and cook for about 5 minutes until it has reduced by half. if you subscribe to the school of ‘peas and mint’, add a sprig of mint here and even some lemon rind. then add the lettuce and cook until it has just wilted (about 3-4 mintues). then add the peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes until they are just soft. season. remove from heat and eat while its hot.

pear & raspberry tea cakes

teacakes sound so naff. but kugelhopf doesn’t. it has resonances of the old country. wherever that may have been. and all things sweet and heavy which come from the east. and when i saw these teacakes in the ottolenghi cookbook i was filled an overwhelming nostalgia for a time and a place which never existed as well as an insatiable hunger…for teacakes. i began the search for some mini kugelhopf tins. fortuitously there is a baking supplies store conveniently located near my house where the aforementioned tins were also conveniently located. it had been a while since i last turned on the oven…after some failed sourdough i felt it best to keep a low profile. after spending days up to my arms in fermented yeast, i felt a little numb to the whole exercise. and my self-esteem took quite a battering when my first sourdough, albeit a prototype, still in its embryonic/learning-what-not-to-do phase, failed to do any of the things it was required to do, including but not exclusive to, working. but as soon as i saw these teacakes i was suddenly filled with a sense of possibility and hope and i heard hundreds of voices in my head chanting “yes we can”. moved as i was by my own internal dialogue, i decided it was time to get back up on the dying horse and rediscover beauty. i looked to the truest most pure source of beauty i know – butter, sugar and vanilla. and surely enough, there it was. and here it is.


180g unsalted butter

260g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

1/4tsp salt

160g caster sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

170ml sour cream

2 pears halved, cored and cut into 1cm bits

250g raspberries

first preheat your oven to 170 degrees. grease 6 mini kugelhopf tins. you can use muffin tins if you cant find the “proper” tins. no one will judge. but you will end up with muffins rather than teacakes. no one will judge you, you will only be cheating yourself. then prepare your fruit and by that i mean open your bag of frozen raspberries and cut up your pears. pears in small dice…they will stay the size they are so cut them the size that will make sense to your mouth

sift together the flour, baking powder and soda and salt. set this aside. cream the butter and sugar until light and gorgeous. mix in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and beat well.

gently fold in a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the sour cream. continue this until they are both mixed in and the batter is smooth. finally fold in the pears.

scatter some raspberries onto the base of the tin.

then spoon the mix into the tins and fill it almost to the top and smooth it over.

then press about 5 raspberries into the the mix so they are just below the surface.

bake for 25-30 minutes. check with a stick of any description you can find to make sure they are cooked through. not that there is anything wrong with raw cake batter. but by then, you may have had enough raw dough and will be looking for something more cooked through

let them cool before, in the immortal words of nigella, “applying to face”

nb. smoo – time this took was roughly an hour, including oven time as well as spoon-licking time, raspberry grazing time, and marvelling at the quality sara lee’s frozen raspberries which are remarkably superior to creative gourmet (which seem to come in one large frozen clump as opposed to sara lee’s exquisite, physics-defying, individualised raspberries which have a flavour i n’ere before tasted from a frozen berry) and cheaper.
nbb. i also made a ras-white-choc, replacing the pear with raspberries and inserting 100g white chocolate finely chopped – the berries bled and the chocolate was a bit of overkill. but it was still sublime – as only raspberry and white chocolate can be.


this should probably be put into context. i was recently the very happy recipient of a kitchen aid. its artisan. much like my self-proclaimed artisan pastries. its empire red…which apparently is the new black. it has a dough hook, a beater and a whisk. wonderfully modern though these things are, they are conducive to severe lazyness, and probably, i fear, tuckshop arms. but what choice do i have? when pastry needs to be kept cold, warm chubby fingers are no substitute for a chilled beater attachment. so i embraced the madness and have happily accepted my inevitable fate. i also received a copy of bourke st bakery – a weighty tome dedicated to pastries and fancies and all manner of tarts. and this brioche is the happy result – a synthesis which takes place when recipe meets kitchen aid, meets girl who always wanted to make a brioche (and finally meets its elderly, pottering, bright-eyed eater). its my first foray into this world, as such, and its not bad – even if i do say so myself (and of course i do because im yet to hear anyone else say anything to that effect.)


190g plain flour (cold)

4g fresh yeast (cold)

15g caster sugar (cold)

30ml milk (cold)

3 eggs (cold)

tsp salt

125g unsalteed butter, cubed and at room temperature

egg wash for brushing

first grease and line a 22 x 7.5 x 7.5cm loaf tin. then put the lour, yeast, sugar, eggs, milk and salt into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low for three minutes. then increase speed to high and mix for another 3 minutes.

turn speed down to medium and while it is running, add the butter, a few bits at at time so it is all incorporated before adding the rest. stock into risotto principle.

when all the butter is in it should be very smooth and sticky and very hard to manage. so lightly flour your hands, your benchtop and your dough and shape it into a ball. transfer it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with tea towel for an hour in the fridge.

after an hour, remove the dough and put on a floured benchtop. knock it back and then press down to make a rectabgle about 2.5cm thick. fold one third back on itself and then repeat with the remaining third. turn the dough 90 degrees and do the same. then put the dough back into the bowl, with the folds underneath, and back into the fridge for an hour to continue proving

remove proven dough again and put it on a floured surface. knock it back. then press it into a rectangle again. fold the two sides to your left and right into the centre. the dough should be as wide as the tin is long…a concept i am still grappling with. spacial relations was never really my forte. press down to form a rectangle and starting from the furthest away end, roll the dough toward you to form a log. put the dough into the tin seam side down

and brush top with egg wash.

turn oven down to 180 degrees and bake for 40 minutes or until golden colour. when you tap its base it should sound hollow. if it does not, you have made and irreparable mistake and theres nothing you can do. eat it hot. or carry it all the way across your little city in a little backpack to deliver to an elderly fellow listening to arias, drinking wine and eating cracker barrel cheese…because he probably needs it the most.

pear tarte tatin

theres something to be said for caramelised pears wrapped in puff pastry, coated in sugar, dripping with butter. its been going since 1898 (yes, the same year the vienna university of economics and business administration was founded under the name K.U.K exportakademie…a very good year) and though its been tried and tested, its never tired and it never fails. its fantastic for those who, much like the tatin sisters, have kitchen based experiences which so often end in chaos, confusion and catastrophe. you might wonder what a 112 year old dish is doing on this highly modern website. the answer is twofold – fold a) 10 sheets of puff pastry and nothing to do and fold b) its a classic…and according to the iranian latte set, it seems to be making a come back. try it -with apples, or plums or pears…anything that goes well with butter and sugar, so the scope is infinite.


5 william pears

90g butter

90g caster sugar

2 vanilla beans

1 sheet all butter puff pastry (rolled out to about 20cm diameter)

nb. you will need a frying pan with an oven proof handle. or a boy who takes things apart to make them better and/or different(ly better), who is able to unscrew the pre-existing non-oven proof frying pan handle.

preheat the oven to 190 degrees. in frying pan scatter the butter and the sugar. cross the vanilla beans (which should have already been split and scraped with their vanilla gold dust removed and set aside).

peel, core and cut the pears in half. they might need a squeeze of lemon to stop them oxidizing (big word for a little blog).

then put the pan onto a low heat and melt the butter with the sugar and vanilla.

next add the pears

…oops. add them cut side up. please.

then cover these with your puff pastry and tuck in the edges around the pears…as if tucking then into bed – a glorious, if not hazardous bed, of butter and sugar.

as the butter and sugar melts, spoon the liquid over the pastry. cook for 5 minutes until the sugar caramelises and goes a golden colour.

put the pan in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

remove from the oven, spoon the caramel over the pastry. then place a large plate on top of the pan and flip it. caramel is very hot. and we have already been burned once this week so try to find a more competent person to aid you here. maybe the same clever boy who de-handled your pan. he seems to know what he’s doing.

if people around you have suddenly decided to go on a diet…then take this tart elsewhere. (old men are good for this – they seem to have, in some ways, given up and therefore given in and will be excellent and willing recipients of any excess baked/caramelised goods presented to them.)