Saturday, February 16, 2008
Oat, Pear and Raspberry Loaf
"I have to stop reading your blog," Siobhan said. "I look at it and think, I have eggs. I have butter. I should bake."
I also experience this sentiment. I'll browse the contents of my fridge and calculate how many different recipes I can make without hitting a grocery store. It's not about making something specific; sometimes I just can't stand to see ingredients go bad. When you devote a good chunk of your budget to food, you feel guilty wasting it. Before you know it, you have three cakes or five plates of cookies on the counter (i'm only exaggerating a little) and you're struggling to give them away.
So why bake at all? Why not throw those overripe fruits and nearly empty jars/bags of ingredients in the garbage? I usually cite one of the following reasons: it's educational, it's productive, it's a creative outlet, it's an easy way to avoid homework, i love it.
None of those explanations entirely justifies the sheer amount of baking I do. The top questions I get are doesn't it get expensive? how do you not weigh 500 pounds? how do you make time for it?
I try not to think too hard about those questions. Maybe one day i'll be sick of baking. Until then, i'm going to just keep doing what i'm doing and let people keep pondering. Today I had two pears on their last legs, so I made Bill Granger's oat, pear and raspberry loaf. The batter tastes like a bowl of oatmeal loaded with brown sugar and butter.
When I cut into the cake it was still raw in the middle. Determined not to be dissapointed, I shoved the whole thing (cut piece and all) back into the loaf pan and baked it for another fourteen minutes. It was a dense, moist, falling apart mess. It's a very hearty cake that would be great for breakfast or brunch, and you'll love it if you're a fan of the 61c Cafe's oatmeal raspberry muffins.
Oat, Pear and Raspberry Loaf
adapted from Bill's Open Kitchen
25 g (1/4 cup) rolled oats
55 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
2 tbsp plain all purpose flour
25 g (1 oz) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
100 g (1 cup) rolled oats
375 ml (1.5 cups) boiling water
150g (5.5oz) unsalted butter, diced
115g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar (fine granulated sugar)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
185g (1.5 cups) all purpose flour
a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 ripe pears, peeled cored and diced
60g (1/2 cup) raspberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. To make the topping, place all the ingredients into a bowl and rub the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until well incorporated and small clumps form.
To make the cake, place the oats into a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir and leave to cool until lukewarm. Cream the butter and sugars in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the bowl. Drain any excess water off the oats. Add the oats to the mixture and fold to combine. Spread 2/3 of the mixture into a greased or nonstick 19x11cm (7.5x4.5in) loaf pan. Sprinkle with the pears and raspberries, top with the remaining cake batter then sprinkle the topping over evenly.
Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (*it should be well browned and feel springy to the touch. If the cake sinks significantly while cooling, it is probably under-baked). Turn out onto a plate before quickly transferring to a wire rack with the topping facing upwards. Leave to cool slightly before cutting. Serve in slices with butter. Makes 8-10 slices.
at 1:28 PM