Saturday, 18 June 2011

Raspberry rye Sunday loaf in waiting

Would you look at this monster?

I’m waiting.

Stuff’s happening, or supposed to. Or at least it should, soon enough.

It’s quiet, and that usually happens before a storm breaks out and yes, a storm in the summer months this side of the hemisphere, the irony.

In the meantime I try to workout, release excess stress that somehow always seems to settle on my shoulders. This is a good time to catch up with friends, eat in places I’ve been putting off and catching up on TV series forever on my to do list. Baking is my stress ball; a bit of dough making, kneading and mixing usually does the trick and it comes naturally with an invigorating aroma that hovers around the house for a good few hours, encouraging deep breaths and thus promoting a general sense of calm.

Its berry season and it feels like such a waste to east the ruby red edible raspberry diamonds straight from the box. Instead, I opted for a raspberry Sunday loaf. Its called a Sunday loaf but I baked it on a Saturday and it lasted the week. The loaf bridges between a quick bread and a coffee cake, the not too sweet loaf has a tanned crust, a buttery mouth feel and a pleasant crumble with chunks of ever-so-slightly sour raspberries bursting with mini tangy explosions that swirl in and around the batter.

Raspberry rye Sunday loaf

The recipe was heavily adapted from Marion Cunnigham’s Breakfast book. The raspberry jam was substituted with a generous quantity of raw berries and I also introduced the nutty flavor of rye flour.

Extremely recommended toasted and slathered with salted butter.

(makes 1 loaf)


2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup rye flour

½ cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

100g butter, chilled and diced

2 eggs

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

¾ cup milk

For the glaze

2 tbs butter

2 tbs apple jelly jam (or any other jam you have or like)

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C then butter and flour a loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, use a fork to combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the diced chilled butter to the mixture and use your fingers to ‘rub’ the butter into the flour mixture until the wole thing resembles coarse sand.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and mix until combined.
  5. Pour the milk-egg mixture and the fresh berries into the flour mixture and stir only until no flour streak show. The mixture will be lumpy.
  6. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake until the loaf is a golden tan and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1¼ hours.
  7. Leave the loaf in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it onto a rack.
  8. Prepare the glaze: in a small saucepan combine the butter and jelly. Stir and bring to a simmer. Strain the glaze and once the loaf has cooled, spoon over the loaf.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The far road to clafoutis

Cherry season is on and, while experimenting with the luscious stone fruit I was finally presented with the opportunity of making Clafoutis. Now that I did I cant believe it took me this long to discover it.

The name, Clafoutis, always conjured images of a flan- like crème, and looking at cook book images of it, I had imagined an shaky eggy dessert. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It just isn’t the sort of thing want to get up and start cooking, let alone eating.

It all began in Florence, almost 2 years ago now. A Latteria down the road from where I lived, one of the few left in the city was recommended to me, mainly for its cakes.

Back in the day this was the place people would come to by milk, cream and cheese. Today the few left milk bars offer light meals, coffee and cakes.

One day, after work, I stopped by and ended up with a slice that resembled cheesecake but was in fact far Breton, a typical dense baked custard pudding made in Brittany (France) with prunes soaked in Armagnac peacefully resting at the bottom. It came complete with a dollop of fresh thick cream, and sceptic as I was holding a spoonful in hand; I was forever changed after one mouthful. I tracked down a fantastic and embarrassingly (in the good sense of the word) simple to make recipe by Trish Deseine, which I have since prepared it at numerous occasions.

Once my aversion to the concept of flan was eradicated a whole new world of baked batter opened up and the Clafoutis was soon to follow. Rather similar to a far, its origins lay in Limousine and instead of prunes glazed cherries float in the batter. Often, the pits included for extra flavour, which also ups the risk factor during eating, like when eating an entire fish, bones and all. This sort of Clafoutis demands a certain concentration and multi tasking skills.

Superbly easy to make and sensationally titillating, cherries are now in season and so there really isn’t any other way.

Individual Cherry Clafoutis

Serves 8

400 gram (about 2 cups) fresh cherries, pitted or whole

½ cup AP flour

¼ tsp salt

2 fresh eggs

2 tbs sugar

½ cup milk

1 tsp fine vanilla extract

1 lemon, zested

A pinch of nutmeg, ground

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and butter the muffin tins.
  2. Using a food processor or a medium bowl and a hand whisk, beat the flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract until combined, for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest and nutmeg and set aside.
  4. Place 4-5 cherries in each muffin tin and pour the batter on top.
  5. Bake until the Clafoutis have risen and the edges have a tan, about 20 minutes. Make sure not to open the oven door while baking as the Clafoutis may collapse.
  6. Remove the Clafoutis from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut around the Clafoutis and release it from the tin.
  7. dust with powdered sugar and lemon zest and serve immediately.