Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday Baking: Cherry-Apple Crumble and Banoffee Cupcakes

It took me a long time to get my crumble perfect. It has always been my favourite pudding. I remember being a child and wondering what the difference was between Mother Hand's crumble and Nanna's Crumble: the latter was marginally more delicious, but both were made to the same recipe (as poor, exasperated Mother Hand must have pointed out to her ungrateful daughter a dozen times or more). Yet the former had a much finer texture that created a more solid top. What gives?

Over the years I think I have figured it out. A finer texture, when pressed down, creates a better seal on the fruit and stays together in one, big, shortbready lump, which is soft underneath from the fruit. Delicious; but not, in my book, right. Nanna made hers by hand instead of in the Kenwood and it had a rougher texture, which I found preferable.

So now, I blend all the crumble ingredients together in the Kenwood; when it has finished, I bring it altogether by hand into one lump of dough and then I rub the mixture between my fingers until it becomes crumble again. The layer over the fruit needs to be quite thin so that it cooks all the way through before it burns on top.

This is one of my favourite crumble combos. Two medium cooking apples, sliced; the grated zest of half a lemon; about 150g of dried cherries; an amount of sugar that looks right. I just sling it on; it varies in sweetness. Turn the fruit over in the sugar and lemon rind. Blend 20z sugar, 4oz butter and 8oz plain flour, as described above; spread over the top. oven bake until golden - probably about half an hour but always feels like about four hours when I'm waiting for it to come out.

I had resolved to go sugar-free as far as possible between now and Christmas (hence the swan-song crumble) but then realised I had bananas that had gone over, so I had a go at some banoffee cupcakes. First, I made my regular condensed milk caramel and put it in the fridge to go hard. Then the banana cake:

8oz butter
8oz caster sugar
4 eggs
4 mashed bananas
8oz self-raising flour (or 8 of plain and 3 tsps of baking powder)
1 tsp baking powder

Beat the butter and sugar togather; add the eggs. Fold in the bananas and the flour/baking powder. Place a generous spoonful into a cake case. Top with a square of chilled caramel -

..then a tsp of cake mixture - just enough to cover. Add a pecan nut, because who wouldn't want to eat pecan nuts?

Bake at 180 degrees C for 20ish minutes. This recipe made 22. They're not lookers, but that is sort of a theme for my baking. I'm sure they will taste very good.

I've started baking for my Y13s on occasion, because they are so very appreciative; I anticipate these will go down well. 

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