Sunday, May 17, 2015

Smitten Kitchen, Final Drive By

So I finally found a recipe I was up for, in the SK, the Cranberry Crumb Bars.  Ever since KH wrote about bars as a requirement for church events, as in bars for bazaars, I always think of her in this context. Never heard of them before she wrote about them.Anyway, I made them, with the usual massive substitutions.

No cranberries, nor blueberries, her alternate, in the house, but I did have a couple of  cups of frozen mixed berries in the freezer, a cup short of what was needed, and with the addition of a fresh Granny Smith apple, cut small, was able to get the fruit part done, and I had all the spices she needed--cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove.  

No ap flour, so I used white wholewheat.  And I didn't have the big pan specified, so I divided the mixture between two glass pans, one 5 x 7 and the other 7 x 11 or thereabouts.  To my surprise they both took the same time to bake. I expected the smaller one to cook faster.

 Here's the bigger one, parchment lined, waiting to cool.  It's actually a neat rectangle, but the folds of the parchment make it look lopsided.

And here's the smaller one, with a bar cut out so you can see how the fruit filling works, and so I could sample one with my afternoon tea.  It's a kind of sandwich, with half the crumb mixture in first, then the filling, then the rest of the crumb mix.  I complicated things by not having the right pan, so I was guessing how much filling to put in first and after, but not a problem.

And in fact they turned out okay.  As usual, they look a bit more rustic than your fancy magazine food pix, but this is a mark of home cooking and home photography!

The fruit filling is just fine.  This is the kind of recipe you can put any old fruit in, I expect, and it seems any old flour, too.  But the lengthy cutting of the butter and egg into the flour with a fork and then two knives, made me wonder, if I ever make this again, if I should get a pastry cutter. I used to do this with my fingertips but I'm not up for that now.

This is one other small cavil: she uses a food processor a lot, and I don't have one. This makes some recipes impossible, such as her lemon bars, where you reduce sliced fresh lemon to pulp, that kind of thing.  Nice if you have it, but I appreciate the occasional note explaining what the hand equivalent, if any, would be. 

So I've done my bit for the cookbook bookclub meeting on Tuesday evening.  I'll take the bigger pan along, quite a few people to get a taste and pass judgment.

Postscript on the mushroom crust quiche: as promised, I froze some slices, and today heated one up for lunch, and found the flavor was just great.  The cheese was a bit chewier but still fine. So now I know I can freeze it with no aftereffects.


  1. Yum! My mother used to make something like that with dates, Haven't thought of them in years.
    I also appreciate "by hand" cooking instructions, and am sometimes a bit put off by an assumption that Everybody Has A Food Processor. Especially when the recipe is "Rustic This" or "Artisanal That." Lots of times I give something a try anyway, but I'd really like to know from the get-go if there is NO way to make the whatever it is successfully without a processor.

  2. oh yes, I remember date bars, and sometimes Mother would make a kind of apple cinnamon bar that we could finish off in an evening (we were the Fudge Family in those days)--
    It does seem that the Food Processor People assume everyone (only the 'true' cooks, you see) has one, in the same way that people with coffee grinders, mills, bread machines, or espresso machines assume...

  3. I've only just got my first processor and i look at it, pause, and then do it by hand.

  4. Those look lovely and tasty. I understand not wanting to do them again strictly by hand.

  5. hi sweetie
    your bars look so yummy. They remind me of the fruit bars my mom and I made when i was young. I know everyone at your club loved them and had great comments.

  6. Just so you know, CatieAnn is the creator of doll Greensleeves from whom it's high time we heard. Greensleeves, that is, not nagging CA to write more!


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