Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Banana, chocolate and peanut crumble to comfort a sad heart

Banana, chocolate and peanut crumble / Crumble de banana, amendoim e chocolate

I have told you several times already how much I love the Internet – this very blog would not exist if it wasn’t for it. On the other side, social networks sometimes make me sad – they make me think about lots of things sometimes.

For instance, I see people from my family sharing loads of photos and thoughts and… I feel like I don’t know those people. I did, in a very distant past, years and years ago, but life has changed so much and I no longer can relate to them – they are like complete strangers. I have a few close and dear friends I consider family much more than the people connected to me by blood – that is comforting, that puts my heart at ease. Those warm feelings make me feel good after dark thoughts cross my mind and usually I look for comfort in food form, too – not ideal, I know, but it is what it is.

Aside from my mom’s rice pudding, nothing comforts me more than a good crumble, eaten straight from the oven with a little cold heavy cream on the side. This time I added almond meal and cocoa to the topping, creating a delicious and tropical combination with the bananas.

Banana, chocolate and peanut crumble
own creation

3 large bananas, ripe yet firm, sliced in 1cm coins

Crumble topping:
1/3 cup (46g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (25g) peanut meal
½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ tablespoons (21g) unsalted butter, cold and chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Divide the bananas between two 240ml capacity ovenproof ramekins or cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, peanut meal, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the bananas and bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is golden and crispy.
Serve with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 2

Monday, November 14, 2016

Strawberry rhubarb buckle and Mark Rylance

Strawberry rhubarb buckle / Bolo de morango e ruibarbom com cobertura crumble

I have been able to catch up and watch all the Oscar movies of this year – it has not been a quick task but it certainly is a pleasant one. :)

One of the movies I have seen lately is Bridge of Spies – I was quite shocked when Mark Rylance’s name was announced as Best Actor in a Supporting Role and I know I was not the only one. I remembered him from Angels and Insects, a good movie I watched twenty years ago, but not much more than that, and I got very curious about his part alongside Tom Hanks.

The movie is… OK. Interesting story, but nothing out of this world (well, not a big fan of Spielberg here). And Mark Rylance’s performance is flat and silly - he should wrap his Oscar in bubble wrap and send it to Tom Hardy by Fedex. :)

I have a more interesting supporting “actor” here: strawberries – unlike Mr. Rylance, their flavor and smell work to create a super tasty buckle, in a beautiful combination with the rhubarb. I had trouble trying not to eat several squares in a row, so please be warned. :)

Strawberry rhubarb buckle
slightly adapted from here

115g strawberries, trimmed and diced
225g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
85g unsalted butter, softened
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream*

Crumble topping:
½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted

Butter a square 20cm (8in) baking pan, line it with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides and butter the foil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the rhubarb, strawberries and ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar. Let it macerate for 30 minutes – in the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Make the crumble topping: in a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using a fork, stir in the melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate until needed.

Cake: in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a stand mixer or another large bowl, beat the butter, lemon zest, and the remaining ½ cup (100g) of sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Drain the macerated strawberries and rhubarb through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the liquid, and arrange them on top of the batter. Scatter the crumb topping on top.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Cut into squares for serving.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Makes 16

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