Monday, 15 December 2008

A berry festive twist

A while ago I made blueberry crumb bars, and they were fantastic. I've been aching to try out new flavours, as I was convinced that they would adapt to any filling I wanted. I had ideas about spiced apple crumble bars, raspberry or rhubarb. Then this week, whilst pondering the fate of the newly arrived fruit box, it hit me: spiked, spiced cranberry bars. Perfect for the festive season, a hint of tartness, under the tender sugary crumble.

So off I went!

As with last time I made a half batch. Unfortunately I didn't really have enough cranberries, I really think I could have done with one cup more, maybe even two. Nor did I have any lemon juice, but with cranberries being both very tart and full of pectin I opted for port instead. A logical switch, as I'm sure you'll agree!

Overall the flavour was good, but on the tart side as I didn't up the sugar. I really like that, but if you have a sweeter tooth I would up the sugar, perhaps even by half a cup. One of the friend who tried this suggested slicing it into thin long bars as a breakfast treat, which is a very fine idea. I think if I was doing that normally I'd switch some of the flour to wholemeal, and maybe add some oats to get some more fibre in there. But it's Christmas and it's not about being good, so go ahead and make these for breakfast next week...

I'm afraid there are no photos of it cut into slices, we ate it too quickly!

Spiked Cranberry crumb bars - makes eight large slices.

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups plain flour
4 oz cold butter
1/2 egg
pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger

2 tbsp port
2-4 cups of cranberries (I used 2 and next time would probably use 4 to get a deeper fruit layer)
2 tsp cornflour
1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 190C and grease a brownie pan (sorry, I'm not sure of the dimensions of mine).

In a medium bowl stir together the 1/2 cup of caster sugar, flour, baking powder, spices and salt. comine well and then use a fork to cut in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the base of the pan, pressing to bring it together. Set the rest aside.

In another bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup of sugar with the corn flour, and port. Add the cranberries and stir well. Sprinkle the mixture over the pressed dough in the pan. Crumble the remaining dough over the top.

Bake for 45mins or until the top is slightly golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack and then cut into slices.

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