Spring has sprung!

Spring and Autumn are probably my favourite seasons. Spring because I’m usually sick of winter, eating heavy foods and wearing lots of layers. Autumn because I’m over the summer heat, humidity and eating salads!

Spring-time in Australia is dynamite though and this year is turning out to be no exception. The crisp mornings and lovely sunny days hint at the summer ahead but aren’t yet warm enough to deter me from heading into the kitchen. Then there are the mini cold snaps like we had last weekend which provide even more incentive and opportunity to bake!

My Mum has always been a big fan of home cooking. As a child, while I was often left wondering why we didn’t buy tim tams like the rest of the kids at school, my mum was busy baking biscuits or slices for our after school treat. They were never particularly fancy but they were always delicious and more often than not, actually good for us.

Many of Mum’s recipes rely on fruit and nuts for sweetness and flavour rather than chocolate or processed sugar. For a long time, I didn’t appreciate the value of using these kinds of ingredients but having now trawled through a few Country Women’s Association (CWA) cookbooks, I realise the wisdom behind them.

While this recipe might not be quite up to CWA standards, it is tasty and much better for you than most of the baked goods I’ll be posting here! It can be served cold but is quite lovely when it is still warm.

Pear and strawberry crumble slice

 Base

  • 125gm butter, diced
  • 50gm brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk

Filling

  • 1 pear, diced
  • 1 punnet strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam (or whatever you’ve got)

Topping

  • 50gm butter
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup demerara or raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup each of pecans and almonds (macadamias are also nice as an alternative)
  • 2 eggwhites
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a slice tin with baking paper.
  2. To make the base, cream the sugar and the butter until it is pale. Add the egg and stir well to combine. Fold through the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and wheat germ. Add the milk and mix to combine (note – the mixture will be fairly sticky). Flour your hands and press the mixture evenly into the slice tin.
  3. Top the base with the jam and diced fruit.
  4. To make the topping, add the melted butter, rolled oats, sugar, coconut and flour and mix until well combined. Add the egg whites and stir to combine. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit mixture and press down. Make sure there aren’t any gaps. Bake for about 35 minutes and leave to cool for about 15 minutes before turning the slice out to cut. Serve with fresh strawberries and either a dollop of double cream or warm custard.
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