We are already half way through January and I realize for many, gingerbread is a Christmas thing, but ….
Since gingerbread was not part of my Christmas baking list, I decided to add some oatmeal to it and make it a January ‘comfort food’ dessert.
Using molasses in baking is not an ingredient that generally appeals to me, but its kind of edible nostalgia. Pair it with ginger and that spicy, sweet smell evokes memories of my mother’s gingerbread cake and takes me back to a simpler place and time.
Gingerbread and more specifically ginger, have been around for a very long time. As it has made its way throughout the world it has been adapted to meet the taste of different cultures. In some places it is a soft, delicately spiced cake, in others, a crisp flat cookie or a bread.
My choice is to add some peach slices and bake it as little, mini bundt cakes. Nothing fancy …. just good!
Peach Gingerbread Oatmeal Cakes
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease mini bunt pans. Place a ring of peach slices on the bottom of 4 mini bundt pans.
In a small saucepan, melt butter with sugar & molasses on a low heat. Remove from heat & set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, oatmeal & spices. Add beaten egg, milk & molasses mixture. Mix until well blended.
Divide the cake batter over peach slices in prepared bundt pans.
Bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Move to cooling rack & flip upside down. Remove pans & allow to cool.
Serve with cranberry sauce, gingerbread syrup, whipped cream or just simply sprinkled with powdered sugar.
CELEBRATING LABOR DAY!
Although, we have not officially reached the first day of fall (Sept. 22), this part of the year often begins with a tinge of melancholy. Even so, there are many ways to appreciate Canada’s most sentimental season.
Part of our country’s appeal is its four season’s: Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. We are entering the season of the fall harvest and the leaves on the trees begin their transformation to stunning shades of orange, red and yellow.
Labor day week-end gives us an opportunity to enjoy family and friends before summer is officially over. Whatever your choice of relaxation is, you know good food will play a big part in the week-end gatherings.
I’m sure you are all familiar with ‘slab’ pies. If not …. a slab pie is a shallow pie baked in a rimmed baking sheet instead of a pie pan. These are a genius way to serve a crowd with less fuss and less mess. Almost any fruit pie recipe will work in this format. Just double you pie recipe, bake it in a jelly-roll pan (15 x 10 x 1) which are a little smaller than the typical baking sheet and have 1-inch sides. Most will serve 15-20 people.
For the sake of choice, I went with four different fruits in one slab pie. That should cover it I think!
Fresh Fruit Slab Pie
Line a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla & lemon zest; beat another minute, or until blended. Add flour & salt, mix until fully incorporated, taking care not to over-mix the dough.
Turn dough out onto paper-lined baking pan & evenly press into the bottom & about 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 F. With a fork, prick crust all over & bake for 20 minutes until JUST PALE golden in color. Remove from oven & cool slightly on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb with 1/4 cup water. Simmer 5-7 minutes ONLY until slightly softened. Strain rhubarb juice into a one-cup measure. Set aside. Place rhubarb in a dish until ready to assemble pie for baking.
In a bowl, combine oats, brown sugar & flour. Add butter & mix until coarse crumbs form; stir in pecans.
To reserved rhubarb juice in one-cup measure, add cherry juice & 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Add enough water to make one full cup. Return juice/water to small saucepan; add sugars & cornstarch. Cook until mixture boils & thickens.
Place rhubarb, saskatoon berries, peaches & cherries in partially baked crust. Form each fruit in a diamond shape to give it a bit of pizzazz!
Drizzle hot sauce evenly over entire slab pie. Sprinkle streusel topping over all & bake in a 350 F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.