This fruity number is just the thing to pack into a tin and take round to a friends garden to have with a cuppa! Use any summer fruit you like, berries or stone fruit work well, and it’s best to cook the fruit down with a little maple syrup into a rough ‘jam’. Very soft fruit like strawberries, raspberries or plums could just be sliced and sprinkled raw on top of the biscuit layer before adding the crumble mix, but I do find a more jammy fruit layer helps the crumble mix stick to the biscuit a bit better. I tend to cover the dish in the oven with a baking sheet or a layer of baking parchment during the last 15 minutes or so to prevent it from browning too much.
125g caster sugar
375g plain flour
100g porridge oats
maple syrup to taste
Start by cooking 150g fruit in a small pan until just soft and starting to collapse. Taste and sweeten with maple syrup or any sweetener you like (if needed). Then put it to one side to cool while you make the biscuit dough.
Pre-heat the oven to 175C and line a deep baking dish with baking parchment. I used a dish approximately 25x35cm but any medium sized baking dish will do. Just bear in mind, if it’s a smaller dish, the biscuit will be deeper so will need longer in the oven.
Weigh out the butter, sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub it together with the tips of your fingers until you achieve a wet-beach-sand-like texture that comes together into dough when squeezed. A quicker way to do this is to pulse the ingredients together in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attachment.
Tip roughly 2/3rds of the dough into the lined dish and press it firmly into a neat, even layer. Ensure you get into the corners of the dish.
Add the oats to the remaining 3rd of the dough and mix into a rough crumble.
Spoon the fruit onto the biscuit layer and then sprinkle the crumble over the top. Lightly pat the crumble into the fruit.
Then bake for approximately 30 minutes at 175C fan. The time can vary depending on your dish size. I tend to cover the dish with a baking sheet or extra piece of parchment for the last 15 minutes or so to prevent the crumble from browning too much. Just keep an eye on it and see if it needs it or not. No two ovens are alike in my experience!
Remove from the oven and allow the biscuit to cool in the dish. Then carefully transfer it to a chopping board and cut it as you like.
You should end up with a melt-in-the-mouth shortbread base, a fruity layer and a buttery, oaty, crumbly layer. Delicious!
The biscuits keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Enjoy!
Ok, yes, it’s a lockdown cliché, but banana bread is one of the most useful recipes to have in your arsenal against the war on food waste! Got any over-ripe or bruised bananas? Please don’t throw them in the bin! My recipe is easy and adaptable, dairy and egg free, and oh so delicious! Liz x
100g dark chocolate (Or lave plain. Or add other optional extras, like walnuts, dates, peanut butter…)
Pre-heat your oven to 175C and line two tins with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, mash 8 very ripe bananas.
Add the oil, milk, sugar and vanilla and mix well to combine.
Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and mix into a sticky batter.
Chop the chocolate (if using) and fold it through the batter. Here’s where you can fold through other optional extras too if you like. A swirl of peanut butter? Some chopped walnuts and dates?
Divide the batter into two loaf tins. Add slices of banana on top and an optional sprinkle of brown sugar and bake.
The loaves normally take around 30-40 minutes to cook through*. *TOP TIP – cover the loaves with a baking sheet or some foil or baking parchment after about 25 minutes in the oven to stop them colouring too much on top before they are cooked through in the middle.
Serve in thick slices as they are or with butter or my favourite, peanut butter!
A classic shortbread biscuit is buttery and tender with a crumbly, melt in the mouth texture. It shouldn’t be soft or chewy like a cookie, but delicately crisp. The simplicity of the ingredients is what makes shortbread so good. The perfect sugar:butter:flour ratio is 1:2:3 and so you can easily work the recipe up or down to make a batch however large you like. The best way to get the right texture is to weigh the ingredients out carefully and not to overwork the dough. Here’s a handy little video which explains it all.
Let us know in the comments or over on our facebook group if you make the recipe. I’d love to see your photos. Liz x
300g plain flour (I love this spelt one for perfect biscuits and cakes)
optional extras – lemon zest, more caster sugar to roll the cookies in…
Bergamot zest shortbread with kumquat curd.
Measure the sugar, butter and flour into a bowl. Add optional lemon zest – I used the gorgeous bergamot lemons we have in season now.
Using the tips of your fingers (so as not to make the dough too warm or melty) rub the flour and sugar into the butter.
When you reach a sort of wet-beach-sand-like texture, tip the mixture carefully onto a clean work surface.
Bring the dough together into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough as this can make it tough and chewy rather than tender and crisp. No kneading, just gently bring it together.
Then you need to wrap and chill the dough for at least half an hour. I like to roll the ball into a neat cylinder, the circular ends the size of the biscuits I want. Then wrap it in a sheet of baking parchment on which I’ll cook the biscuits later. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up the dough.
Then pre-heat the oven to 175C.
Unwrap the chilled shortbread dough onto a large baking sheet. If you wish, you can roll the cylinder of dough in some extra caster sugar (with added lemon zest or chopped rosemary, or crushed lavender flowers…) to create a sweet, crunchy ring around the biscuits.
Slice the dough into 12 round biscuits and bake them for 8 minutes or until just starting to take on some colour.
Allow the biscuits to completely cool and then store them in an airtight container. Eat within a week. I am loving them with a dollop of my kumquat curd but they are delicious plain too. And just perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea.