Crumble with grey background

Crumbles are definitely one of my favorite everyday cakes. They are super-simple to make, and can bake in the oven while you do other stuff (I baked mine while eating dinner). Also, I have yet to see a crumble with eggs.

However, it has been a while since I last made a crumble. I think the last I crumble made was this wonderful crumble with white chocolate and red currants. (It may have been due to the white chocolate, but this was definitely one of the best crumbles i’ve ever made and eaten.) I guess this recipe is just one example of how crumbles can contain almost any sort of fruits and/or berries. Personally, I prefer blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and apples in my crumbles. I also plan to use peaches in a crumble similar to this

Pears II

I’ve never made a crumble with pears before. I think pears are a bit tricky to use in pastry – generally, they taste rather bland (at least conference pears usually do) and tend to give off a lot of moisture in the oven. However, these features can be used to your benefit  in a crumble. When mixed with tasty berries, the pears’  taste is altered and becomes a sweet contrast. In addition, the juice from the pears provides the required “sauce” in this crumbly dessert.

Ingredients for 1 crumble (or roughly 4 portions): 

For the filling:

2 pears

150 g raspberries (frozen or fresh)

4 dried apricots (optional)

2 tablespoons sugar

For the crumble:

70 g flour

20 g sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

50  g butter

70 g oatmeal

(NB: If you want a thicker crumble layer, double the crumble recipe!)

Heat oven to 190 ℃. Start with the filling: peel, core and coarsely chop the pears, and put in a small bowl. Add raspberries to the pears. If you use dried apricots, chop them finely and toss into the blend. Add sugar and mix well.

For the crumble, start by mixing the dry elements (except oatmeal) in a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the bowl together with the oatmeal. The mixture should be crumbly.

Spread out the filling in a large ramekin or tart form. Sprinkle the crumble on top and place in the middle of the heated oven. Let it bake until the crumble looks golden brown (approximately 20 minutes)

Let the crumble cool on a cooling rack, or eat it warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Crubly serving

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Muffin with sauce

I am not a big fan of cupcakes. To me, cupcakes consist of a dry and boring muffin topped with cloying frosting. So far, I have (almost) managed avoiding eating and making cupcakes myself. However, when I asked my family what they wanted for dessert none of them shared my wish for brownies . All they wanted was muffins. Chocolate muffins with “lots of frosting”!

I suppose we all have our weaknesses.

Chocolate muffins

In the end, I decided to compromise our wishes. If they wanted cupcakes, I would make cupcakes. But I would give them spongy cupcakes with a deep, chocolatey taste. The cupcakes would be served with my own “frosting”, meaning dark chocolate sauce.

At first, I imagined that finding recipes for egg-free muffins without replacement products would be difficult. Aren’t eggs after all the main ingredient in muffins? I was a bit skeptical before trying the recipe below. I assumed that they would be compact and tough.

ingredients for chocolate cupcakes

But I was wrong. The muffins turned out moist and airy (I was almost screaming “yes, they are raising!” when I supervised their development in the oven), and the accompanying sauce was well-received by my frosting-loving family.

The recipe is adapted from Frie kaker by Anne Spurkland. The muffins can be made vegan by using dairy-free chocolate.

For six muffins:

50 g chocolate (I used milk chocolate)

100 g very ripe/brown banana

25 g oil (I used soy oil, as it is neutral in taste. The book recommends canola or sunflower oil)

12 g cocoa powder

50 g flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting/ sauce:

25 g chocolate

1-3 tablespoons milk (depending on how runny you want the frosting/sauce)

1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder (optional – I used this to give the sauce a richer taste)

 

Heat oven to 250℃. Chop the chocolate coarsely. In a smoothie maker/food processor, weigh up the banana, oil and sugar. Let it mix until the mixture is creamy. It should have a smoothie-like texture. Sift cocoa powder, flour and baking soda into the mixture. Let it mix in the processor. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate – try to keep the batter airy. Pour the mixture in six muffin cases (preferably placed in a muffin tray). Place in the oven, and let the muffins bake at 250℃ for 3 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 180℃ and let them bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Check with a wooden stick if they are finished before letting them cool off on a cooling rack.

To make the frosting, chop the chocolate finely and place in a small bowl. In a small cooking pot, mix the milk and cocoa powder. Heat up the blend until it is almost boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and mix until smooth. Serve the frosting hot with the muffins, or let it cool to make cupcake frosting.

A couple of weeks ago, we picked apples…

 

Apples in basket

And in addition of eating these beauties straight from the basket as they are, I have used them in cakes. Lots of cakes, in fact. I have made apple pies, apple cakes, a failed apple sheet cake and a classic Norwegian klippekrans. But I have also made my favorite apple tart. It is ridiculously simple and takes few minutes to knock together. It is completely without eggs, and its main ingredients should be found in every cupboard.

Unbaked apple tart

Finished apple tart

Ingredients for one cake (or roughly six generous portions):

For the dough:

220 g flour

50 g sugar (white or light brown)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of 1/2 orange or lemon

120 g butter

2-3 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon honey

For the filling:

2-3 apples, (depending on the size of the tart pan)

sugar

cinnamon

Mix the dry elements and zest in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces, roughly 1cm3  in size. Add the butter to the bowl and mix together until the largest chunks of butter are smaller than a pea.

In a small bowl, mix honey and water. Add the mixture to the dough and quickly work it together until the dough just holds together. (If you overwork the dough, it will become tough and dry.)

If you choose to use a mixer, first add half of the butter to the dry elements and mix until the butter is dispersed. Add the rest of the butter and mix until the chunks of butter are smaller than a pea. Dribble with the honey and water mixture while mixing, and stop just when the dough looks smooth.

Cover the dough in cling film and let it refrigerate for 30 min – 1 hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for some minutes on the worktop while preparing the filling. Peel, core and finely slice the apples. Set aside. Heat oven to 190℃.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 5 mm thick circle, and place into a greased tart pan or spring form. (I recommend spring forms, as they make it easier to remove the cake later). Place the apple slices neatly into the pan. Start with the outer row, and work inwards. Drizzle the apples with cinnamon and sugar, and place in the middle of the oven. Let it bake for 20 – 30 min, or until the dough is golden and the apples look baked.

Let the tart cool on a rack before eating with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.