There’s a new friend I’ve been catching up with on a regular basis for the past month or so, almost on a weekly basis. Suffice it to say that our relationship does revolve around food. The first time I asked if she wanted to hang out, I gave her a box of my Tiramisu (which was about three servings; she had it herself for lunch). So when we did catch up over dinner, I gave her a box of my Salted Caramel Meringues. Third was a function and there was a box of Mexican dark chocolate and caramel truffles for Christmas. The next time was dinner at mine, so that involved a three course meal with my Beef Carpaccio, Slow-cooked Lamb Shank Pasta and individual servings of my Tiramisu again.
I am, as she labels me – a chronic feeder. It’s not something I can help; I love watching people enjoy my food – particularly watching them eat it in front of me so I can watch their reactions (does that sound perverted?).
With me presenting her with something every time we meet, it creates the expectation that I will bring something every time we hang out. This really gives me the opportunity and incentive to try new recipes constantly, instead of being safe and then not having any new content to blog about (*cue thumbs down*). But our next meet was scheduled for a 30 degree Celcius day, walking around the inner-west, so I was a little stumped for ideas as to something that would be easily transportable, small, and wouldn’t melt or ooze. Chocolate, caramel, buttercream – not options.
I have a pile of unfiled recipes that I’ve printed out over the years sitting on my desk in the study. My housemate and I leave the window of the study open as the apartment gets dreadfully stuffy during these summer days, and after the afternoon storms roll in, I usually walk past the study and see my recipes blown all over the floor in a flurry. It was one afternoon that I was picking them up and saw this recipe that I had printed off from What Katie Ate a year or so ago. Rustic, jammy, nutty..and there are rolled oats in the crumble topping – so that makes it healthy, right? 😉 With that thought, I decided to give it a shot. It’s a rather fiddly, time-consuming recipe – especially if you’re roasting the hazelnuts yourself, but the results are well-worth it. It also fills the house with the most amazing buttery, nutty and tangy aromas while it’s baking.
You will need:
- 150g chilled unsalted butter, chopped;
- 2 cups (300g) plain flour, sifted;
- 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar;
- 1 egg, lightly whisked;
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped;
- 250g frozen, thawed blackberries (or fresh if you’re lucky);
- Juice of one lime;
For the crumble, you will need:
- 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour;
- 100g chilled unsalted butter, chopped;
- 1/3 cup (80g) firmly-packed brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra for sprinkling;
- 1/2 cup (45g) rolled oats;
- 1 cup (125g) hazelnut kernels (if you can find pre-roasted ones, use those; I can’t ever find them so I resort to the old-fashioned way);
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
First off, combine the butter, flour and half a cup (110g) caster sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and vanilla, then whiz to combine. This is simple if you have a large food processor, but since I moved house I only have a small Sunbeam one so I whizzed it as far as I could before I realised I had over-filled the poor processor, so ended up tipping it out into a bowl, and kneading it with cold hands. It worked just as well.
Shape into a flat circle, then wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes or until you’re ready to use it.
In the meantime, if you’re using hazelnut kernels still with their skins on, preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place the hazelnuts onto the tray. Allow to roast for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly tanned and the skins are visibly peeling off. Deposit them into a clean tea towel, wrap up and let them “steam” for five minutes or so before vigorously rubbing them with the tea towel to remove the bitter skins. Chop up the roasted, naked hazelnuts roughly and put them to one side.
To make your jam, place the apple, blackberries, lime juice and remaining 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar and 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the apples are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Katie said this would take 15-20 minutes, mine took closer to 30-40 minutes. This may depend on the heat level of your gas/electric stovetop, but do ensure that the liquid has mostly evaporated; don’t just base it on time alone.
Remove from the heat, cool, then blend until smooth and set aside.
With the oven still set at 180 degrees, grease and line a 24cm x 30cm brownie/slice tray with baking paper. Remove the biscuit pastry from the fridge, then unwrap and place between two pieces of baking paper, rolling it out into a rectangle to fit the tray. Use your fingers/fists to push it right into the edges and to level it out.
Prick the base all over with a fork, then bake for 20 minutes or until starting to brown. Cool for five minutes.
While it’s baking, make your crumble. Whiz the flour and the butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the remaining ingredients, including your hazelnuts if you prepared them earlier, and stir through to combine.
Over the cooled biscuit base, spread the jam over it. Scatter the crumble over, then sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of brown sugar.
Bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until golden. If you see it moving on the surface, don’t worry – it’s just the jam boiling! Allow to cool for 30 minutes or until firm, then cut into squares and then serve.
The slice is best eaten the day it’s made as the crumble and biscuit base will still be crisp. Unfortunately in this hot weather it softened the very next day, but my friend didn’t seem fussed. It makes so much at once anyway I can’t imagine the whole thing being demolished in one day; I personally stretched it out for morning tea snacks over the course of the working week and it was quite satisfying indeed 🙂