Monday, July 18, 2011

Raspberry Crumble Bars

I have been reading Food, Inc. of late. It is a book of essays that accompanies the eponymous documentary film about food (surprise) and the food industry. I haven't actually seen the film but the book makes for some interesting reading. It is quite (a lot) repetitive but it raises some valid points. It isn't going to turn me into a raw food, vegan evangelical, I don't have the will power or the requisite level of interest/dedication, but it is a salient reminder about food ethics. It has reinforced a couple of my personal food rules as well and prompted me to try and adhere more closely too them. I might discuss them more at a later date, particularly if I review Food, Inc., but the relevant one today is to eat more seasonally. Which brings us to raspberries, the king of fruit, and grown in England too (another rule - try to buy as locally as possible as often as possible). They are in season and now is the time to make the most of them. I was feeling sad earlier about the fact that I don't like jam which is the obvious way to preserve summer fruits for the winter months but then I remembered that I can just straight up freeze some! Genius. Am going to buy some beautiful fresh raspberries asap and bung them in the freezer for the sad winter months. Seizing the day though I made a big tray of Baked's Raspberry Breakfast Crumb Bars at the weekend.

My love of Baked is well chronicled on this blog. I have made and adored their brownies, cookies and glorious Sweet and Salty triple layer Chocolate Cake. Their first book really is turning into one of my favourite bakery book. So, when I felt like baking something this weekend, I flicked through the increasingly well thumbed pages and came up with this little beauty. It turns out that Deb of Smitten Kitchen has made and loved this recipe too so check out her blog for far more beautiful pictures. A crumb bar, for those of you who don't know (a number that included me until Sunday - there aren't any pictures of this recipe in the book), is kind of like a cross between flapcake, a dense biscuit and a crumble. It is crumbly but mine maintained their structure well as long as not manhandled. It is also chewy and rich and buttery - a whole bunch of my favourite adjectives. The Baked boys and Deb both comment on how they like that it isn't very sweet which I think is a little bit odd. Maybe it is an American thing, maybe it is a personal thing but I found these quite sweet. Not unbearably sweet, just pleasantly sweet, but still definitely sweet. Sweeter than anything that I would really want to eat for breakfast. I do favour the savoury breakfast though, to be fair. No jam or honey for me, thank you. Peanut butter and marmite all the way!

Anyway, these are really straightforward to make if you have a decent sized food processor. I don't, I only have a wee baby one so I had to make the picture one half at a time which was a bit of a pain in the arse but still not an unbearable inconvenience! You basically whizz some crumb mixture and stir some raspberry mixture, a bit of cooking and your good to go. And they're really raspberry-y; the lemon and cinnamon make the raspberries pop.

For the crumb mix:
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ~165-170g melted butter (1 1/2 sticks - i.e. the most stupid measurement ever)
For the raspberry filling:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 pound raspberries - I used two packets (340g) and it was enough although you can always have more!
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a 9x13 inch tin with greaseproof.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form. The crumbs are actually fairly recognisable and self-explanatory even if you haven't done this before.
  3. Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Pour the rest into your tin and spread evenly. Push the mixture gently down into the tin. Bake for 12-15 mins, until golden. Leave the tin to cool on a rack.
  4. In a medium bowl mix the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and stir until coated.
  5. Spread the raspberry mix over the crumb base. I squished some of my raspberries to get a better coverage. Sprinkle the remaining cup of crumb mix evenly over the raspberries.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until it is bubbling away like a crumble.
  7. Leave to cool. This is sadly necessary - it doesn't hold together when hot. Try to resist. When cool enough cut into squares and gobble down.
And kind of healthy, maybe? They do have fruit in them and everything.

Chuck x

1 comment:

  1. They sound and look so good! I have been meaning to read Food Inc for ages now, might have to make a cheeky purchase.