Hello, how are you doing in your isolation bubble?
For me, it doesn’t feel like too much has changed. That’s not to say I’m not quietly clawing at the windows and doors when no one is looking. It’s just that, I’m normally at home most of the day with the kids anyway, and the kids are too young to really notice a marked difference in their days. Alex procured a used slide for Ellie just before the world shut down, and that’s providing some “physical activity” daily. The weather has been okay and with daylight savings, we’re able to do a walk in the trail after lunch on sunny days, plus some meandering around the townhouse complex in the late afternoon.
However, I worry that when we do start going out again, they might become feral beasts in their carseats (what is this restraint system I must now sit in?) and crazy people in open spaces where they have to socialize around others (would we dare eat in a restaurant ever again?). I worry that Anna might forget her carseat is likely stuffed with a powerful sleeping aid and she must always fall asleep soundly as soon as she settles in. (Seriously, the Clek Foonf = worth the money for the quiet naps.) I worry they might run up to toys at Indigo and start crying, them being young things that don’t know how to process their feelings of delight. They will also probably realize that grocery shopping and sitting in shopping carts was the hole that was always missing in their lives for the past x weeks/months. Who knows. Perhaps Ellie forgets that Mom always gets a Starbucks and that means she can have those pink sprinkle cake pops because I really don’t enjoy finishing them, and that would be an upside.
We’ve been doing some baking, too. Nothing fancy, but just because, you know, there’s a guy upstairs “working” who can step in and help out if I want to make something. Since he benefits from whatever comes out of the oven, it’s pretty easy to convince him. We’ve gone through some chocolate chip cookies, regular pancake mornings, shortbread with sprinkles, lemon blueberry muffins, and I was starting to feel a little uninspired. (Also, eggs and flour are the next items to become scarce, following in the steps of…toilet paper?) I had just typed a message to a friend proclaiming that I’m all baked out and lack inspiration when this little idea started festering in my head. Something with fruit so it’s got some tartness to it. Something with a crisp topping that has oats and brown sugar – staple comfort foods. Something that can join us at the breakfast table without too much controversy. Oh, and preferably doesn’t use 4 eggs (brownies, I’m looking at you).
So I turned to my trusty source Smitten Kitchen and browsed through her choices before cobbling together the below:
- 25g toasted pecans, cooled and chopped finely
- 85g melted butter
- 95g flour
- 95g brown sugar
- 80g oats (rolled/regular is better, but I only had large flake and it worked out okay)
- 280g raspberries and/or blueberries (I used a small container of fresh raspberries plus frozen wild blueberries to get to the total weight)
- 15g fresh lemon juice
- 20g white sugar
- 7g tapioca starch (if you don’t have it, cornstarch should be fine)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix together the fruit, lemon juice, white sugar, and tapioca starch and set aside
- Mix together melted butter, flour, brown sugar, oats and chopped pecans. Set aside about 3/4 cup of this mixture, and dump the rest into a 8×8 square pan lined with parchment
- Press the crumble mix firmly into the pan, using a flat-bottomed glass or something similar to really pack it in
- Arrange the fruit on top, using up all the liquid too
- Scatter the remaining crumble topping loosely on top of the fruit – it should just about cover everything
- Bake for 45 minutes, or just until topping is turning light brown and the fruits are bubbling
- Cool in pan on a cooling rack until warm enough to handle, and then remove from the pan to chill at room temperature or in the fridge
Due to a proper pressing down on the base before baking, the bars baked up like a shortbread cookie on the bottom. The top remained crumbly, and the fruit all melted into jammy pockets nicely. I keep the bars in the fridge, and eat them slightly cold so that the base remains firmer. I can imagine putting different fruits on top as more produce becomes available with the warmer weather – strawberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, rhubarb, etc. should all work well! I’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure because it’s so simple (and you can omit the pecans if you want to keep it really simple) yet knocks up a lovely breakfast or tea time treat!