All posts by Barbara99

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Summertime means lots of fresh salads.  I like to make my own vinaigrettes because they are not full of preservatives and they are easy to make.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I love the quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils I get from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown, PEI.  I jokingly say I have almost as many varieties in my cupboard as they have in the store!  There are so many combinations of vinegars and oils that each salad dressing is a new adventure and a new flavor.

This evening I decided to make a Rhubarb Vinaigrette because I have a rhubarb patch in my back yard.  Rhubarb pairs well with citrus and I have a bottle of grapefruit balsamic vinegar and one of mandarin orange infused olive oil.  These three ingredients along with some orange juice are the basis for my salad dressing.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

1 cup rhubarb, sliced
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp grapefruit balsamic vinegar
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small green onion, minced
1 tsp J.J. Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard Sauce
¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ tsp minced or puréed garlic (optional)

Assemble ingredients.

In small saucepan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Heat over medium heat and cook until rhubarb has completely softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Let cool.  When cool, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture.

Add the maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice, green onion, mustard, olive oil, sea salt, and garlic (if using). Stir well to combine.

Serve over your favourite salad. Keep refrigerated in covered bottle for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 cup

For this salad, I used a simple bed of fresh mixed salad greens, slices of pink grapefruit, blueberries, raspberries, red onion, and goats cheese.  I have been growing sprouts this spring so added a handful to add texture, flavor, and appearance to the salad.  A drizzle of the  coral-red colored Rhubarb Vinaigrette added the finishing touch.

The Rhubarb Vinaigrette is very versatile as it can be used on either a fruit- or vegetable-based salad.

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Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

Our rhubarb is in full swing on PEI. The photo below is of two crowns of rhubarb I started several years ago so it is quite a mature patch now. It has very deep ruby-red stalks.

Mature Rhubarb Patch
Mature Rhubarb Patch

Rhubarb is so versatile as it can be used in pies, puddings, marmalades, jams, tortes, baked goods, sauces, drinks, and so much more.  And, it freezes well for year-round use.

Rhubarb and Orange Muffins
Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb and Orange Muffins.  I am always looking for uses for rhubarb and, because we have our own patch, it gives me great incentive to be creative.

For these muffins, I have used grated orange rind and a small amount of orange juice to give a little zest and enhanced flavor to them.  

Rhubarb pairs very well with citrus fruits.

The key to using rhubarb in muffins and sweet breads is not to add too much rhubarb as it contains a lot of water and, if too much is used, can make the baked goods somewhat soggy.  I have tested this recipe several times and have concluded that 7 1/4 ounces ( or between 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cups) of diced rhubarb is a good amount to use.

The other factor to keep in mind is that the rhubarb stalks should be quite thin (about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide) for dicing as opposed to some larger and wider stalks (some of ours grow to be almost 2″ wide).

Rhubarb Stalks
Rhubarb Stalks

While you can split a large rhubarb stalk in half, lengthwise, it does tend to make the rhubarb bleed and the chunks don’t seem to hold their shape as well when baked in the muffins.  You can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb in this recipe.  In fact, I freeze the measured out amount of diced rhubarb in labeled freezer bags so they are ready to be used for muffins throughout the year.

The streusal topping for these muffins is optional but it does add both flavor and crunchiness to the muffins along with an attractive appearance.

Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin
Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F.  

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. 

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. In my rhubarb muffin recipe, I use a preheated 400F oven.  Using the high temperature allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.  This also gives that nice, soft muffin top crust.  We have all seen those flat-topped muffins and they don’t look as appealing as a nicely domed muffin does.

Rhubarb and Orange Muffin
Rhubarb and Orange Muffin

The texture of a good muffin should be somewhat “open” as you don’t want a finely-textured cake batter for muffins.  A good muffin will have a loose, coarse interior crumb.  When mixing the batter, do not overmix as this will cause the muffins to be tough, rubbery, and somewhat heavy.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are barely incorporated.  In fact, in muffins in which I am adding fruit (which gets added last, using the “folding” technique), I don’t completely incorporate all the dry ingredients to the wet because, when the fruit is folded in, the dry ingredients will get further incorporated then.  The batter should be lumpy, not smooth.

Open, loose crumb texture of muffin
Open, loose crumb texture of muffin

The other thing to keep in mind is not to overbake the muffins.  I have found, in my oven, that 18 minutes bakes these rhubarb muffins perfectly but, as you know, every oven is a bit different.  I suggest checking the muffins at about the 15-16 minute mark and, just as soon as they spring back to a light finger touch, remove them from the oven.  Overbaking will result in a dry, unappealing muffin and it only takes a couple of minutes for muffins to be overbaked so keep a close watch on them as they bake.  To double-check doneness, you can also use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.  Let the baked muffins rest in the baking tin for 5-7 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup rolled oats
⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grated orange rind
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tsp vanilla
⅔ cup sour milk
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup cooking oil
7¼ oz finely chopped rhubarb, cut into ¼-inch chunks (about 1½ – 1⅔ cups)

Method:
Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease 12 muffin cups.

In large bowl, combine first nine (9) ingredients. Mix well. Make a well in the center.

In separate bowl, combine the egg, vanilla, sour milk, orange juice, and cooking oil. Mix well. Pour into well in dry ingredients. Mix only to barely combine dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Gently fold in rhubarb.

Mix streusal (recipe and instructions follow)

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Top with streusel mixture.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until muffins spring back to a light touch or a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins stand in baking tin for 5-7 minutes then carefully remove them and transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Streusal Topping
¼ cup + 2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter

Method:
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter to make a crumb mixture.

Spoon over tops of muffins. Bake as described above.

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Rhubarb Custard Torte

Rhubarb Custard Torte
Rhubarb Custard Torte

The rhubarb in my garden is ready for using.  I am fascinated by how fast it grows.  While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe.

I have my usual, regular recipes that I make every year with rhubarb and generally try one or two new ones.  One of my all-time favorites is Rhubarb Custard Torte.  We’ve been making this recipe in our family for as long as I can remember.  It’s not overly difficult to make but it does take time since there are three stages to it:  1) the shortbread base; 2) the rhubarb custard filling; and 3) the meringue.

The most tricky part is making the rhubarb custard and ensuring it doesn’t scorch while it is cooking and thickening.  To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook it at medium-low temperature and stir it constantly.  A couple of other tips when making this recipe are, first, don’t overbake the base as it will become hard and somewhat tough.  Second, when making the meringue, make sure the egg whites, the bowl, and beater are all cold and add the sugar slowly.

I love the rich, ruby red color of the rhubarb!  Use the brightest red rhubarb you can find as it will give great color to your recipe.

Rhubarb Custard Torte

Shortbread Base:
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
2 tbsp sugar

Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.

Lightly spray cooking oil into 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan.

Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Custard Filling:
1¼ cups sugar
3½ tbsp flour
½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
3 large egg yolks (reserve whites in refrigerator for the meringue)
2¼ cups chopped rhubarb

In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, spread rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Meringue:
3 cold egg whites
¼ cup sugar

In chilled bowl of stand mixer, beat the three egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, just until meringue starts to brown.

Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 9 servings

Enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.

Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

Do you have certain foods you like to have in the different seasons?  One of the springtime treats in my house is asparagus.  Last spring I paid a visit to local asparagus grower, Tim Dixon, of North Tryon.  You can read the story here.  There is something about buying locally-grown foods at the farm gate – the freshness can’t be beat.  I recently dropped by Tim’s farm to pick up my taste of Island-grown asparagus.

Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable and one of the first available in spring in our Maritime climate.  Asparagus is lovely served with a Hollandaise sauce, in a quiche, wrapped with goat cheese in proscuitto and roasted, or in a myriad of other ways.  One of my favorite ways to serve asparagus is as a cream soup.  I like to roast the asparagus first as I find the roasting brings out the nutty, earthy flavors in the asparagus.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for this soup.  While it does take a bit of time to make, the end result is so worth the effort.

Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb asparagus
1 leek, white and light green parts only
1 stalk celery
1 garlic clove
1 potato
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 bayleaf
¼ tsp dried dillweed
¼ tsp dried basil
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

For garnish:
Croutons
Asparagus tips
Olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Assemble ingredients.

Trim asparagus ends. Cut leek in half. Cut celery stalk and potato into 2-4 chunks.

In large bowl, combine asparagus, leek, celery, potato, and garlic clove. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss vegetables to ensure they are well coated with the oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place oiled vegetables, single layer, on foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for about 20- 30 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Remove vegetables from oven and cool slightly.

Loosely chop vegetables into chunks and place in bowl of food processor.

Pulse until vegetables are puréed.

Transfer puréed vegetables to large pot.

Add chicken stock, bayleaf, dillweed, and basil.

Whisk flour into milk until smooth. Pour into soup mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.

Mix ingredients well over medium-low heat, stirring regularly to ensure mixture does not scorch.

When hot and thickened to desired consistency, add Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese. Heat just until cheeses are melted.

Serve hot garnished with croutons and 2-3 steamed asparagus tips. Lightly drizzle a good quality olive oil around the garnish.

Yield: 4-6 servings

This soup is lovely served with a good quality rye bread.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar. That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.

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Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops
Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Today, I am sharing a new recipe for pork chops.  In addition to PEI pork, I am also featuring two other PEI products, both from J.J. Stewart Foods and Soda Company, in Stratford.  The first is a new preserve flavor — Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger — and the second is from their maple mustard line.

This is a very easy recipe to make and does not take a lot of time to prepare. It is essentially pan-fried pork chops with a pan reduction sauce made with chicken stock, orange juice, mustard, and the preserves.  This recipe is easily doubled.

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Ingredients:
2 pork chops, fat removed
2 tsp olive oil

½ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp orange juice
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar (I used Liquid Gold’s Grapefruit Balsamic Vinegar)
3 tbsp J. J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger Preserve
1 tbsp J.J.  Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard
¼ tsp onion
⅛ tsp garlic powder

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Over medium heat, add 2 tsp olive oil to small frypan. Add pork chops and cook, turning once until cooked to desired doneness. Remove chops from pan and transfer to oven-proof covered dish. Place pork chops in oven set at very low temperature, just enough to keep them warm while preparing sauce.

Add the chicken broth, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar to frypan. Over medium heat, cook liquid (uncovered) until it reduces to about half.

Whisk in the mustard along with the garlic and onion powders until mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the preserves. Cook until mixture becomes the consistency of syrup.

Return the pork chops to the frypan and heat for about 1 minute, turning the chops at half-time to glaze both sides.

Serve hot with the cranberry-ginger sauce mixture drizzled over top of each pork chop. Serve with potato or rice and your favorite vegetable(s).

Serves: 2

Note:  Other brands of preserves, mustard, and balsamic vinegar may be used in this recipe; however, flavor will differ.

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Ruffle Cake for Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Happy Mother's Day

 

While Mother’s Day is over, I thought I would share some photos from my Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea.  We celebrated pretty much the whole weekend.  On Saturday, I made and decorated this ruffle cake.  Doesn’t it remind you of the old-fashioned ribbon candy that used to be so popular around Christmas time.

I don’t tend to use this method of decorating often because it takes a powerful amount of icing…surely enough to set anyone on a sugar high for days!  However, it is a real feminine cake style so it is perfect for Mother’s Day.  The photos are showing the color of the icing quite a bit deeper than it was in reality.

My tea this afternoon is really simple.  Just the cake and a good cup of “brew”.  I don’t worry too much about having everything perfectly matched.  Part of the eclectic charm of afternoon tea is having a mixture of china cups and saucers, plates, and teapot.  This teapot is a new acquisition to my collection.  So long as the colors blend together, they work.

This is a Sadler teapot.  I like its “perky” shape and simplistic floral design.

DSC_0739

A cut slice of cake reveals just how much icing is on that cake!

A nice sweet treat in the middle of a Saturday afternoon!

Good thing there is a huge pot of tea to go with all that icing!

 

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Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed: The Bistro’s Lobster Egg Benedict

The Bistro's Lobster Eggs Benedict
The Bistro’s Lobster Eggs Benedict

A very happy Mother’s Day to all Moms out there!  I hope you are having a wonderful day and are getting thoroughly spoiled.

Today, I am sharing my recipe for Lobster Eggs Benedict with a delicious Béarnise sauce.  This makes a wonderful brunch entrée and is also perfect for a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed tray although it does take some time and organization to prepare.

Here, on Canada’s East Coast, we are extremely blessed to have ready access to fresh lobster this time of the year.  In fact, in many Island families today, they will be celebrating with lobster (many having their first “feed” of the season), whether it be lobster at home or at one of the Island’s famous lobster suppers that open early just for the occasion today.  They will then close and re-open for the season in a few weeks time.

I have gone with a yellow theme for the breakfast in bed tray using, as my inspiration, a single yellow tulip and my favorite spring-time china cup and saucer featuring daffodils.

I chose a dainty crystal glass for the freshly-squeezed orange juice.

A refreshing fruit cup with orange sections and raspberries adds both color and flavor.

And, of course, the star of the tray – the Lobster Eggs Benedict served on Ciabatta.

Can you taste that succulent lobster?  The Béarnise Sauce is rich so you don’t need a lot of it on each serving and using less is more in this case because you don’t want to “drown” or mask the wonderful color of the red lobster claws!

The Bistro’s Lobster Eggs Benedict

Ingredients:

1 tbsp water
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used Liquid Gold’s pomegranate-quince)
½ tbsp white wine
½ tbsp minced onion
⅛ tsp puréed garlic

1 extra-large egg yolk
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp prepared mustard (I used J.J. Stewart’s Maple Mustard with Dill and Chardonnay)
2 tbsp butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of chopped chives, parsley, and tarragon

1-2 lobster claws and meat from the lobster’s knuckles for each serving
English muffins or artisan bread, such as Ciabatta, sliced for each serving

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In bottom of double boiler, heat about 2” water to boiling point. Reduce heat to keep the water at a very gentle simmer.

In top of double boiler and over direct heat (not on top of the boiling water), combine first five ingredients. Simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

 

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Place top of double boiler over saucepan of gently simmering hot water.

Quickly whisk in the egg yolk and whisk vigorously and continuously till smooth. Whisk in lemon juice and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk until mixture is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (you want it of pouring consistency). Remove from heat and add a sprinkle of chopped chives, parsley, and tarragon.

Note: If mixture thickens too much, whisk in small amount of boiling water, 1 tbsp at a time, to get to pouring sauce consistency.

In small saucepan or frypan, heat ½ – 1 tbsp butter and heat lobster over low heat.

Using your favourite method, poach 1 egg to desired doneness for each serving.

To assemble:

Slice English muffin, or if using an artisan bread like Ciabatta, cut loaf into desired lengths (e.g., 3”- 4” per serving) and slice in half horizontally, using one-half for each serving. Butter each piece. Lay a layer of lettuce on each piece of bread or muffin. Add the warmed sautéed lobster.

Top with the poached egg.

Drizzle Bérnaise Sauce over each serving. Serve with a side of green salad or fresh fruit.

Serves: 2

 

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Dave’s Lobster – Charlottetown’s Newest Lobster Roll and Taco Eatery

Tonight, I have some mouth-watering photos for you featuring one of PEI’s most famous foods (and certainly one of my favorites) — lobster!

It’s always exciting when a new eatery opens in town.  I was fortunate enough to have been invited to this evening’s pre-opening event for Charlottetown’s newest restaurant featuring lobster rolls and tacos.

I thought you might be interested in seeing the photos of lobster rolls and tacos from Dave’s Lobster in Charlottetown, PEI (now stop drooling on the keyboard and read on!).

Let’s take a look at the menu boards.  Main features are lobster rolls (both hot and cold) and lobster tacos.

However, if you are not a lobster lover, they offer grilled cheese sandwiches using local COWS Creamery cheeses.

One thing I always look for in a lobster roll is lots of big chunks of identifiable lobster (I loathe “mashed” or shredded lobster).  As you can see from the “Fancy Lobster Roll” below, there is no problem with identifying the lobster.  The roll was amply filled, too.  The other thing I look for is how much non-lobster filler has been added to the lobster roll.  This one was filled with 100% pure, fresh lobster and nothing else.  The chopped fresh chives really add a contrast color and make the orange color of the lobster pop.  I had the warm lobster in a roll that was lightly grilled and quite enjoyed it.  This is a bit of a switch for me since I always choose to eat my lobster cold.

Staff were kept busy making the lobster rolls and tacos, all under the watchful eye of Chef Ilona Daniel who owner, Dave Hyndman, engaged as a culinary consultant on his new restaurant.

If lobster rolls aren’t your thing, perhaps a lobster taco would fit the bill!

Lobster Taco
Lobster Taco

So, if your tastebuds lead you to craving lobster, why not head on down to Dave’s Lobster located in Founder’s Hall, 6 Prince Street, just off of Water Street, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  This is in the same building that houses the PEI Visitor’s Centre and is just steps away from Peake’s Quay and the cruise ship port.

While there is a small eat-in section at Dave’s, eating a lobster roll outside under the bright red umbrellas on a warm summer day would be ideal.

DSC04116

Do you have a new restaurant opening or a culinary event happening in Prince Edward Island?  If so, and provided it fits with the philosophy and theme of my blog, I invite you to get in touch with me as I may be able to feature it here on my Island food blog.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.

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Date Squares

Date Squares (aka Matrimonial Squares)
Date Squares (aka Matrimonial Squares)

You may know these as Matrimonial Squares.  I have always known them as Date Squares.  Regardless what they are called, they are tasty.  Growing up, Date Squares were pretty much a staple in our household.  They are a good, wholesome square made with a tasty date mixture sandwiched between two layers of a rolled oats, flour, and butter mixture.  While these squares can be made with margarine, they are ever so much better when made with butter!  I add a touch of orange rind to my recipe as it gives them a nice tangy taste.

Date Squares
Date Squares

Date Squares

Ingredients:

8 oz dates, chopped

⅔ cup boiling water

1½ tbsp boiling orange juice

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond flavouring

 

1⅔ cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup + 2 tbsp flour

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

Scant 1 tbsp grated orange rind

1 cup cold butter

 

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

  DSC03556

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 9” square pan with parchment paper.

In saucepan, combine dates, boiling water and orange juice, and brown sugar.  Let stand 15 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, bring date mixture to a boil and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes.  If mixture thickens too fast, add a couple of tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and almond flavouring.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, soda, salt, and grated orange rind.

Cut, or grate, in the cold butter until mixture becomes coarse crumbs.

Press between a scant ⅔ of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spread the slightly cooled date mixture over crumb base.  Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over date filling.

Bake until crumbs are golden, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Remove from pan and cut into squares.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.

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Old-Fashioned Scottish Oatcakes

 

Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart's Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves
Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves

Oatcakes are very versatile and take such basic, simple ingredients.  A cross between a cookie and a cracker, they are savory bites and are not overly sweet.  In fact, I would describe these artisan cookies/crackers as having a nice short, crisp texture.  Scottish in origin, oatcakes probably made their debut in Canada when they arrived along with Scottish immigrants.

Oatcakes can be eaten as plain cookies or sandwiched together with jam or date filling.  They can be consumed as crackers served with various condiments such as tangy gourmet preserves and marmalades alongside cheese, such as Brie.  Here I am serving them with J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves made in Stratford, PEI.  You can read the story I wrote earlier on J.J. Stewart’s products by clicking here.

This product is a bit sharp and tangy and goes particularly well with a plain oatcake and Brie cheese.   Whatever preserve, jam, or marmalade you serve with these, make sure it is not runny.  It needs to be fairly thick consistency so it will stay in place atop the oatcake. Choosing a bright red jam makes these colorful savories!

Oatcakes can also be dipped in chocolate.  And, yes, they can even find their way onto an afternoon tea table because they taste especially good with a fine cup of tea.  In fact, I served them at my Tartan Day Afternoon Tea this year.

Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea
Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea

 

Old-fashioned Savory Oatcakes

 Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 cups oatmeal (not instant)

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Oatcake Ingredients
Oatcake Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350°.

With electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

With mixer at lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and, using a wooden spoon, add the oatmeal.  Stir well.

Roll out dough thin – between ⅛” and ¼” thick.  Cut into 2” circles or squares.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven an let set on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Oatcakes freeze very well.  They are a great staple to have on hand along with a good quality preserve or marmalade so, when company drops in unexpectedly, it is quick and easy to pull together some refreshments.  Set out the bottle of preserve, a stack of oatcakes, some favorite cheese, and fresh fruit and you have a savory snack food!

 

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