When it just doesn't make sense

The rhubarb SugaLu and I bought on Saturday inspired Sunday evenings dinner. I decided a roast pork with crackling and some "golden roast potatoes" made from kipflers that Elliot adores and roast pumpkin, red onion, garlic, carrots and sweet potato. For the rhubarb I searched high and low for the best recipe for a apple and rhubarb crumble to serve with custard and icecream.

I read several recipes for the crumble and the one I was most impressed with is from Phillip Johnson's Ecco 2 cookbook. I have always loved dining at Ecco it is a fabulous bistro and I admire Philip Johnson's use of fresh produce presented quite simply. Over the years I have used many of his recipes too and I have finally realised after yesterdays experience that there are some definite anomalies with his recipes. I recall when making his lemon tart that perhaps it was my fault that there was so much lemon filling and pastry left over as I don't think I was using the exact same tart tin - now I am starting to think twice after the crumble episode.

I decided my crumble would be mostly based on his recipe and I would add some pecan and walnuts as well and instead of raw sugar I opted for brown sugar.

I started getting suspicious when I prepared the apples, 4 of them with half a kilo of sugar and one cup of water. I had to make a caramel first so I thought the sugar should dissolve so I justified half a kilo of sugar to 4 apples and ten stalks of rhubarb in that way.

The crumble is a different story. The first ingredient was 300 grams of coconut - I looked at my coconut and realised that meant an entire packet plus some extra, the rest of the quantities were 300g of crushed digestives, 300g of raw sugar, 200g of almond meal and 100g plain flour and 100g of rolled oats. I think the dry ingredients come to a total of 1.3 kgs of topping along with 250grams of butter. What is more perplexing is that you are instructed to use only a half a centre metre of the crumble over the 4 apples plus rhubarb. Another instruction I query is that if you find the apple acidic (after half a kilo of sugar!) then you can add some more sugar.

(Note: Even though I decided to use half the quantity that was instructed to I still have crumble to spare in my freezer).

While this doesn't prevent me from using Ecco recipes again I now approach them with more trepidation.


At 12:35 am, Blogger claire said...

I have always had the same problem with his lemon tart recipe (one of my favourites) - there is always lots of tart filling and lots of pastry left over, but never quite enough of the filling to make a second tart. But last week I used the same recipe while cooking in someone elses' kitchen using someone elses' things, and found to my surprise that the filling fitted perfectly! So I've found the quantity is just right for a tart cooked in something with higher sides than a regular tart tin (which also makes for a nicer lemon tart, in my opinion!). Luckily there was also enough pastry for exactly two tarts, cause the first attempt at blind baking the pastry in a new oven was not so successful!

I'd love to hear if you have had any other anomolies with his recipes, as I've never had a problem with anything other than the lemon tart ... but am yet to try all the wonderful ideas in both the e'cco books.

At 10:33 am, Blogger Lushlife said...

I thought it might have been my tin so I am glad to have that confirmed. His lemon tart is one of my favourite ones too - have you ever tried throwing in some blueberries before you bake it? I find it is a lovely addition.

His dessert recipes are a bit on the large side - sometimes 10 serves or 8-10. I have made his tiramisu and the white chocolate and berry one (I thought it was the perfect christmas trifle with all the berries) and they both require dishes which are on the large side.

At 1:41 am, Blogger claire said...

The white tiramisu is another of my favourites - I normally make it as our Christmas desert too! Last Christmas my brother even bought me a great big ceramic lasagne dish as my xmas present, intended especially for that desert, as previously the only thing I had big enough to make it in was a metal lasagne tin - I find that the biscuits fit perfectly into the lasagne dish. Of course, he had to give it to me a couple of days in advance, as he expected I'd be needing it for xmas day!

The lemon tart I normally make with passionfruit - it makes it extra sweet and interesting - and I serve it with King Island cream. The blueberries sound like a great addition, I'll definitely try them. I'm living in Switzerland at the moment so the blueberries are much more common here, and I am hanging out to "borrow" someone else's kitchen again soon (alas, don't have one of my own right now) so I can try kitschenette's recipe for yoghurt cake with berries in it (at her foodblog - http://kitschenette.typepad.com/redkitchen/).

At 9:36 pm, Blogger Lushlife said...

Berries how I miss their abundance in Summer - after spending a year in Vancouver I realise how deprived we are in Australia for berries. My mother in law paid $8 for a punnet of raspberries just last week. Just thought I would let you know there is a delicious sounding Berry coffee cake recipe on Chocolate and Zucchini's blog (http://chocolateandzucchini.com/)I love the sound of kitschenette's recipe too.


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