Raspberry tin can cakes

August! The months are coming and going a bit too fast this year don’t you think? August brings a new uni semester, imminent overseas travelling, and a return to the garden to get prepared for spring. Yay! It also brings another Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, this month hosted by Christina at The Hungry Australian, with the theme “Berry Nice to Meet You”.

Now, I love berries. I really do. Every summer we spend hours picking raspberries, making jam and adding them to everything we can think of. As I generally aim to put seasonality as a priority in cooking though, I have to admit to being a tad disappointed at the berry theme coinciding with the depths of winter. Luckily, someone in my family had the foresight to freeze a whole bunch of raspberries over summer, so all was not lost! A great lesson in preserving the surplus! Thank you family.

Preserving the abundance of summer for the scarce winter months has an underserved nostalgia in my mind (I am firmly in the ‘convenience’ generation, so have no personal memories of winter scarcity). But I really love the idea of spending warm summer days bottling, jamming, freezing, drying and cooking up all number of sauces and chutneys for when the garden lies dormant and the trees have lost their leaves. Eating seasonally makes so much sense, and makes eating all the more exciting when a change in weather signals the arrival of new produce (who else is getting keen for asparagus?!) Preserving the summer harvest is something I’m really looking forward to putting a lot of effort into this year.

In the mean time though, please enjoy this rather eclectic offering using last summer’s raspberries. My family certainly did, despite them being a little bit weird. Yes, they were baked in tin cans, and yes, they are a cross between a slice, muffin and a crumble. But don’t hold it against them. Also – hurrah for upcycling! These cakes are yummy, especially served warm with a touch of your favourite diary or non-dairy cream-substance (I recommend vanilla (soy) yoghurt). Warming for winter, yet hinting at the fast approaching summer. I know I’m excited.

Raspberry tin can cakes

(Vegan)

Short crust pastry:
80g margarine/nuttlex/butter/spread
170g plain flour
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
tiny pinch salt
cold water

Cake:
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used oat)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup frozen raspberries

Crumble:
1/2 cup plain (or wholemeal) flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tablespoons margarine or coconut butter

First, prepare the pastry. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in the margarine and maple syrup (if using). Add just enough cold water to bind into a dough. Roll into ball and leave to rest in fridge for 20mins.

Next, make sure you have appropriate vessels for baking. I used tin cans cut in half, which meant an appointment with an angle grinder, then a good clean.
If using tin cans, brush the inside of each with oil, and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Be really careful! They have sharp edges! Don’t try this with children!

Preheat oven to 180C.

Roll out pastry to 3-5mm thick. Use the sharp edge of the tins to cut circles of pastry. Lay each on the baking tray, at the bottom of each tin.

Prepare the crumble by mixing all dry ingredients in a bowl, then rubbing in margarine to forum a nice, crumbly crumble (breadcrumb consistency).

For the cake, combine flour, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl, mixing well with a whisk. Place milk and vinegar in a medium bowl, then whisk and let it sit for a few minutes. Add oil, vanilla and sugar and whisk together well. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk until well combined. Carefully stir in raspberries.

To assemble, place a cake mix on top of pastry inside the tins. Make the cake layer as large or small as you like. My cake mix came about half way up each (halved) tin. Sprinkle a generous layer of crumble mix on top of each one, then bake for around 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly before removing from tins, then serve however you please.

This post is part of the August Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. To check out the other berry-themed desserts doing the rounds, click on the link above and scroll down.

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Taro pie with berry compote

So I’m not entirely sure what happened to the last month, but it is time for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop again. This month it is hosted by the Kitchen Crusader, with the theme “Sweet as Pie”. Huzzah! How appropriate given the amount of pies I’ve been baking of late (which may or may not be proportionate to the amount of uni work I’ve had to do…)

Now, straight away I’ll put it out there that my pie does not have a pastry top. I realise this is less than desirable according to the blog hop definition of a pie, but I’m pretty certain that you could not describe this as anything other than a pie, so I’m going with it.

Taro is a pretty unusual ingredient for a sweet pie, but having recently acquired some from my friends at The Food Forest, a fantastic permaculture property near Adelaide. In case you missed my earlier post, I have declared this week to be taro week – where I am sharing my adventures learning to use this starchy tuber. To learn a little bit more about taro, click the link to my other post: Taro week – adventures with a tuber.

This pie is dairy-free, but does contain eggs. I tried to make a vegan variation using chia, but the consistency was just not right. The egg version is beautifully light and fluffy though, and reminds me a little bit of a custard tart. It might be the cinnamon and nutmeg too. The flavour isn’t terribly strong, so really lends itself to the addition of other flavours – I went with a berry compote (as I’m still trying to make my way through the glut of berries in the freezer).

My family was a little bit reluctant to eat a sweet pie made with vegetables, but agreed that it was tasty once they tried it. Win. (I might ignore the fact that they still go for the orange and wattleseed muffins over the taro pie. The muffins must just be heaps awesome.)

This recipe is based on one from filipino desserts. I turned it dairy-free, and scaled some of the ingredients down to suit the amount of taro I had.

Taro pie with berry compote
As I was testing out a vegan pie too, this recipe made one 9-inch pie plus a smaller single-serve one. To make one 9-inch pie, use two thirds of what the recipe states.

Short crust pastry:
170g margarine (dairy free) – I used lite nuttelex (but nuttelex is a bit sus, so if you decide butter is more ethical, go with that)
340g plain flour (or mixed with wholemeal)
pinch of salt
cold water

Rub the margarine into the flour, add salt and enough just cold water to bind into a dough. Roll into ball and leave to rest in fridge for 20mins.

Pie filling:
1 1/4 cup taro, boiled and mashed using a food processor (1 1/4 cup once mashed)
scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Berry compote: (scale up if you need more)
1 cup mixed berries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon corn flour

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry to around 5mm thick, and line a greased pie dish/tin with the pastry.

Your taro will be cooked and mashed in a food processor by this stage. The taro should be soft in the centre when cooked well.

Combine all pie filling ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. The mixture may look a bit purple. That’s okay! Taro naturally has a slightly purple tinge to it. Pour mixture into the pastry-lined tin, then bake on high for around an hour. The top should be nicely browned, and the pie cooked through (not soft in the centre). Allow to cool before removing from tin.

To make the berry compote, heat ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it reaches the boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes before removing from heat.

Serve pie warmed topped with berry compote. It would also taste pretty rad with ice cream. Do it.

This post is part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. To see the other participating blogs, check out this link

Choc berry chickpea slice

On the weekend, I got a little creative. (The best kind of weekend, right?)
I challenged myself to make a slice, using the berries that have been sitting in the freezer for longer than I care to admit. Not knowing exactly how to make a slice, I experimented and was quite pleased with the results. After refining the recipe slightly, I am now happy to report that this is quite delicious, and also has chickpeas in it! I’m yet to try it with only chickpeas (and no flour), but if you experiment yourself with this one, please let me know how it goes!

I love using chickpeas in baking because they’re such a great little alternative to flour, and so full of protein that you can feel a little bit less guilty for indulging in baked goods – winning! These are also vegan (if you use vegan chocolate). Huzzah!

Chickpea tip: We always have chickpeas pre-cooked and frozen in small portions in zip lock bags. Cook up a whole heap at once, then you can just use them as you need, rather than having to think ahead in order to soak them in time for your meals!

*Edit – Take a look at Lemon chickpea slice for a light and lemony variation.

Choc berry chickpea slice

1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw sugar
2 chia eggs (2 tablespoons ground chia seeds, whisked with 6 tablespoons water)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup water
1 cup mixed berries (or whatever berries you please) – could be fresh or frozen
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, or block chocolate cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 180C, and line a baking pan (of the sort you would make brownies in), about 20cm x 30cm.

Make up your chia eggs in a small bowl and allow to sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, whizz chickpeas in a food processor until they resemble something between breadcrumbs and flour:

Place them in a large bowl with all other dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon). Whisk together to mix and get rid of any lumps.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, chia eggs, vanilla essence and water until well mixed. It should be quite thick. Then add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. Carefully fold in berries and chocolate until just mixed.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for around 40 minutes, or until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a while in pan before removing to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, slice into bars or squares, and serve dusted with icing sugar.

**Don’t be concerned if they look a bit undercooked once you’ve sliced them. These are really moist and fudgey due to the moisture from the berries, which gives them a really great texture.