blueberry and peach porrij crumble slice

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It’s hard to believe that I’m writing this post on the fifth day of January, 2014. Where did the holiday season go? After months of expectation, the festivities and countdown have finished; twinkling lights and streamers have been cleared and returned to cardboard confinement. The new year is barreling full-steam ahead.

Over the past few days, I’ve heard many friends discussing their personal ‘new years resolutions’, a concept that I’m familiar with but have never practiced. More exercise, less sugar, less alcohol, more productivity… all very worthy ideas.

I guess I’m of a similar mindset, despite lack of proclamation. Aaron and I went for our first run of the year on Thursday, around 4km of varying terrain including Jacob’s ladder and the insufferable Kokoda track. On Friday, we tackled a sizeable walk around Tomato Lake, watching families picnic and waterbirds building nests.

bowl

From a nutritional point of view, I’ve also been focusing on fresh organic produce after the unavoidable excess of Christmas. Bowls of Brookfarm natural macadamia muesli with fresh blueberries and organic yoghurt, homemade hummus with spicy harissa and raw vegetables, grilled chicken with quinoa, homegrown herbs, pomegranate arils and plenty of lemon.

Simple, wholesome food, healthy fats, minimally processed. I feel better for it. Infinitely.

peachpits

peaches

One of the most beautiful things about Summer is the ready availability of fresh seasonal fruit such as blueberries, mangoes, peaches, sweet strawberries and nectarines. I’ve been lapping it up, eating fresh bowls of mango with plenty of mint, adding grilled peaches into salads and blueberries into jam and baking.

This Saturday morning, I decided to turn three punnets of blueberries into a healthy crumble slice, sandwiched with Vicky’s tiny homegrown peaches between layers of crunchy amaranth, oats, macadamias, flax and quinoa (courtesy of Brookfarm‘s organic Power Porrij).

The house smelled divine during the baking process; buttery crumble interspersed with sweet cinnamon, bubbling fruit and earthy grains.

fruit

After allowing the slice to cool, I roughly cut it into squares before devouring a piece immediately. The soft, moist fruit was a perfectly sticky foil for the crunchy, organic wholegrain crumble. Delicious. Definitely moreish. Slightly ‘healthy-tasting’ in the best of ways.

This slice is perfect as a transportable energy snack for work, school or leisure. In fact, Aaron and I have packed a few pieces into an airtight container to take to a picnic this afternoon… and I am certain that I’ll be taking a piece to work tomorrow.

lunchbox

Happy new year everyone. Thanks to all of you who regularly read Laura’s Mess, particularly those who take the time to comment and share ideas or thoughts with me. You’re a precious source of inspiration and friendship, despite the fact that we are yet to meet. May 2014 be the very best year yet.

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Blueberry and Peach Porrij Crumble Slice
Makes 24 pieces

  • 1 cup raw caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 cups Brookfarm Power Porrij (find stockists here)
  • 220g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)

For the fruit filling:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups pitted, diced fresh peaches (about 4 medium fruit)
  • 1/2 cup white caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour
  • juice of 1 lemon

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees f (190 degrees C). Grease and line a 9×13 inch shallow baking pan, then set aside.

Base: In a medium bowl, stir together the raw sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, flour and Porrij mix. Mix in the salt and lemon zest.

porrij

bowlmix

Using your fingers, rub in the cubed butter until the mixture comes together into a crumbly dough. basedough

Press half of the dough into your prepared pan. Refrigerate the pan and the rest of the dough whilst you prepare your filling.

base

Filling: In another bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries and diced peaches.

berryflourmix

Remove the crust from the refrigerator and spoon over the fruit mixture, ensuring an even distribution of blueberries and peaches. Crumble the remaining dough over the fruit mixture (don’t worry if patches of fruit show through).

layermont

Bake the slice in a preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling at the sides (it should look slightly ‘jammy’ in consistency).

Cool completely before cutting into 24 squares (I’d recommend refrigerating it for an hour to prevent the crust from crumbling). Store in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to four days.

handheld

This slice is also a worthy dessert à la mode, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream… because everyone needs a little indulgence sometimes.

Disclaimer: Brookfarm is an Australian-owned, New South Wales based company that prides itself on the production of delicious, premium quality macadamia products and wholefoods. The company supplied me with samples of their Power Porrij for this recipe post, however I was not compensated and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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frangipane tart with rhubarb pomegranate compote and pistachio crumble

It’s a Monday afternoon and I’m sitting at my kitchen table watching some deep red compote slowly seep into green-flecked pistachio pastry. The afternoon sun seems to complement the redness, highlighting chunks of moist rhubarb in pomegranate syrup under a blanket of lemon-scented frangipane. The tart is left over from a Sunday lunch spent with family at my mother’s house, where we merrily ate roasted bird with all the trimmings whilst discussing the nature of parenting in today’s society. As you can imagine, this soon required sweetening, in the form of the above mentioned tart with lashings of vanilla ice-cream.

You’ll find below the first version of my tart ‘recipe’, which I will endeavour to refine as I get used to measuring things. It’s got a crunchy pistachio, lemon & spice pastry base covered with rhubarb & pomegranate compote, soft lemon-infused frangipane & a drizzle of syrup. The tart filling went well with the accompanying pistachio oat crumble, vanilla ice cream & a sprinkling of fragrant thyme, however it’s equally delicious enjoyed on it’s own with a healthy dollop of double cream. Instructions for all of the elements are below so feel free to add or substitute as you wish.

And that’s my first post completed! Well, except for the recipe, so read on right here:

Frangipane Tart with Rhubarb Pomegranate Compote & Spiced Lemon Pistachio Oat Crumble

(I’ve divided this recipe up into sections for convenience, but I’d recommend you read through to the bottom before baking to understand how everything fits together)

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 140g unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g pistachio nuts, coarsely ground in a mortar & pestle
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp Herbie’s fragrant sweet spices* (or equivalent 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • a few drops of vanilla extract

To make the pastry: Rub the flour & butter together in a large bowl until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add in the sugar, lemon zest, crushed pistachios, spices & a pinch of salt. Mix slightly. Work in the egg yolk & vanilla until you have a smooth dough – don’t worry if it’s still a little crumbly, it’s quite a ‘short’ pastry so this is to be expected. Shape your dough into a slightly flattened disc, wrap it in plastic wrap & refrigerate it for at least an hour, or even overnight.

When you are ready to bake: Flour a flat surface & roll your dough out to about 0.5cm thick. Roll it over your rolling pin & place it into a 22-25cm round fluted tart tin with a removable base. Don’t worry if it breaks, just pick up any stray pieces & press them into the tart pan until you’ve completely covered the base & sides. Leave a slight pastry overhang as it’ll shrink a little as it cooks. Prick the base with a fork to allow for steam escaping as you blind-bake it. Refrigerate the tin & pastry case for 20 minutes prior to blind-baking.

Blind baking: Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees f). Place some greaseproof paper inside your unbaked tart shell, and fill it with ceramic pie weights, beans or rice. Place your tart shell in the oven & bake it for about 10 minutes with the weights, then five minutes uncovered. Remove it when it’s just started to ‘dry’ or set on the base & the edges are just slightly golden. Remove & allow to cool slightly before covering it in compote (recipe below).

Rhubarb Pomegranate Compote:

  • approximately 4-5 cups of fresh rhubarb, tips & ends of stalk removed (including green leaves) sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • Juice of 1 pomegranate, seeds strained out
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

To make the compote: Place all of the above ingredients into a medium saucepan & bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Allow to reduce to a syrupy consistency & taste for sweetness (add a little more sugar or lemon as required, the intention is to create a sweet-but-tart jam). The compote is ready when the rhubarb has broken down & the mixture will slightly set when placed onto a cold (refrigerated) plate. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly. Fill your blind-baked tart shell to a depth of 1cm. You will need about another half-cup of this mixture to use with extra rhubarb for serving; however I placed the rest of my mixture into a sterilised jar (you can sterilise your own jars by either placing them in a very hot oven until hot, or placing them in the sink with boiling water) and I’ve still got about a third of the jar left to use on toast or as an ice-cream topping.

Frangipane Filling:

  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g almond meal
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 tsp almond essence

To prepare the Frangipane: Cream butter & caster sugar together with a hand-blender (or Kitchen Aid, if you’re lucky enough to have one). Add in egg, then egg yolk, one at a time until creamy. Fold in your almond meal, lemon zest & almond essence to taste. Now you can either pipe or spoon your frangipane mixture into your tart shell, over your rhubarb compote. Don’t worry if there are any small gaps, as they will fill naturally as the frangipane cooks. I topped mine with a swirl of rhubarb compote, for decorative purposes.

Now, heat your oven to 180 degrees C (360 degrees f). Place your tart tin onto another flat tray (the tray will conduct the heat & ensure that the base of your tart is crisp & golden) and cook it, turning the tray regularly if you do not have a fan-forced oven, for 30-40 minutes until the frangipane is puffed & golden and your tart shell is biscuity brown. After cooking, trim away any overhanging pastry for neat edges. Whilst your tart is still hot, glaze the top with warmed honey, paying special attention to the pastry edges. Allow to cool.

Pistachio & Oat Crumble:

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1/4 cup wholegrain oats
  • 30g chilled butter, chopped into small cubes
  • grated rind of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp of Herbie’s fragrant sweet spices*
  • 100g pistachio nuts, coarsely ground in a mortar & pestle

For the crumble: Mix flour, sugar, spices, oats & ground pistachios together in a bowl. Rub in your butter by hand until the mixture clumps together like coarse breadcrumbs. Tip your mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and make sure that all of the clumps are roughly the same size (though I do like having some bigger chunks of biscuity crumble every now and then). Bake in the oven (alongside your tart, if able) at 180 degrees C (360 degrees f) for approx 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

To serve:

  • I like to serve a wedge of the frangipane tart with a spoonful of extra compote (I steamed three extra sticks of rhubarb, washed and cut into 1cm pieces, very briefly in a splash of water with a vanilla bean then mixed this with the extra 1/2 cup of reserved compote for a ‘chunkier’ mixture), a sprinkling of crunchy pistachio crumble, some fresh thyme leaves & a scoop of vanilla ice cream or double cream. In the photos I actually mixed the extra reserved compote with sliced strawberries which is equally delicious.
  • Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, covered, for a few days. I would recommend letting the tart come to room temperature before serving.

Notes:

*Herbie’s fragrant sweet spices is a beautiful mix of ground coriander seeds, cassia bark, cinnamon quills, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, poppy seeds, cloves, cardamom & rose petals which I’ve come to love as a fragrant addition to cakes, pastries & other baked goods. You can buy your own here (or check out the Herbie’s website to find this spice mix and other Herbie’s products).

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