Toasted Oat Porridge

I used to have a serious fascination with oat porridge  when I was a kid, despite the fact that we almost never ate oatmeal at home; and when we do, it’s the quick cooking kind with condensed milk. This is Malaysia in the ’90s after all! But yet the preoccupation with oat porridge was still there, sowed by an innocuous Sesame Street story about Bert and his love for oatmeal which, in my own young life,  culminated in a full blown oatmeal obsession extravaganza (!).

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is-  I love oatmeal. I love how it’s so creamy and stodgy and oaty and warm..

This oatmeal recipe from Orangette is one notch up from the usual oatmeal. The oats are toasted in a tiny bit of butter before it’s cooked to bring out a lovely, toasty, popcorn-like fragrance. I ate it with a splash of maple syrup and some cherry, rhubarb and apple compote; I like the tartness of the fruit, it balances the stodginess of the oatmeal perfectly.

Brown Butter Apple Crumble

Baked apple desserts are at the cosiest and warmest of all treats. Butter, apples and sugar always work well together. I browned the butter to bring out its toasty, nutty flavour which complement the almonds in the streusel. I also added a scraped vanilla bean into the apple mixture; I love the little black specks of vanilla- it’s sight is always a promise of something delicious.

For the filling:

Apple filling:
90g unsalted butter, browned
1 vanilla bean, beans scraped
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
65g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plain flour

Streusel:
110g nibbed almonds
100g chilled butter, cubed
140g self raising flour
40g rolled oats
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
110g demerara sugar

Combine all the ingredients for the apple filling and press tightly into a pie dish or individual ramekins. Make the streusel by  whisking together all the dry ingredients, then rubbing in the cold butter until the mixture looks like pebbly sand. Distribute evenly over the apples and press in slightly.

Bake at 180° for approximately 1 hour until the streusel is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Best served with cream or ice-cream.

Apple + Earl Grey Frangipane + Caramelised Honey Glaze Tart

This tart is loosely based on a pear tart that we learnt in class a few weeks ago, but I’ve used apples instead of poached pears and flavoured the frangipane with loose earl grey tea leaves. Earl grey has such a lovely, fragrant flavour and I thought honey would pair well, so I drizzled some over about 10 minutes before I took it out of the oven so to slightly caramelise it.

Apples

♡4 medium sized eating apples. I used Cox Pippin because I had it at hand.

1. Peel, core and slice the apples to about 1/4cm thickness.

Pâte brisée
♡200g flour
♡100g butter, cold and cubed
♡5g sugar
♡5g salt
♡1 egg
♡1 tsp vanilla
♡10ml water

1. Rub in butter into flour until sandy
2. Whisk eggs with vanilla and water
3. Pour all the eggs into the butter/flour mixture and mix lightly until it forms a ball. In school, we “fraser” the dough a couple of times to properly incorporate the ingredients. Be careful not to overwork the dough, otherwise it’ll shrink. It’s not very important for this tart though since it won’t be baked blind, and the filling prevents it from shrinking.
4. Flatten into a disk, clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to relax the dough.

Frangipane
♡115g softened butter
♡115g sugar
♡2 eggs
♡1/2 teaspoon vanilla
♡115g ground almonds
♡50g flour
♡1.5 tablespoon earl grey tea leaves, crushed slightly
♡honey
♡butter
♡caster sugar

1. Cream the softened sugar and sugar together and add the egg and vanilla in bit by bit. It may split and look curdled, you can try to bring it back together but don’t worry too much about it.
2. Add the ground almonds, flour and earl grey leaves, mix together.

Assembly & Baking:

1. Remove the pâte brisée dough from the fridge and roll out to 3mm thickness. Line the tin, and chill it with the overhanging dough untrimmed for 10 minutes.
2. After chilling, dock the bottom of the dough with a fork and trim the edges.
3. Spread the frangipane in the tart, making it level.
4. Arrange the apple slices on the frangipane in concentric circles.
5. Scatter pea-sized pats of butter over the apples and sprinkle on some caster sugar. This is just so the apples don’t dry out.
6. Bake at 190ºC for 35 minutes, then lower to 160ºC for another 12-15 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, drizzle some honey over the tart and place back in the oven to caramelise and for its flavour to permeate the apples.