Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mrs Oxter's Oaty Crumbles

A recipe inspired by Betty Oxter, Ramthorpe Junior School Librarian. Click here for a Flipagram.
A hastily scribbled recipe which I'll tweak along the way :)

Excerpt from chapter 2 of Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket:

"The sign on the door made Bree stiffen:

Mrs Oxter was a tyrant with unwashed hair. She was so tall and wide she had to duck when going through doorways. Her pigeon chest was always littered with biscuit crumbs, and the giant hairy wart on her top lip seemed to have a life of its own. Anyone unfortunate enough to get close to her would discover that her breath smelled of wet dog. As if her appearance wasn't frightening enough, Mrs Oxter had a horrible temper. She never smiled and would not tolerate anyone else smiling in her library either. Bree wondered why someone who hated children would choose to work somewhere full of them."

So, a very unpleasant woman indeed! Mrs Oxter may be the nastiest librarian in town but her Oaty Crumbles are to die for! She's always hiding away in her tiny office, stuffing her face with them. It's why her chest is always covered in crumbs...and it's probably why she's so wide!

Here's what you'll need to make them:

For the crumble:

250g of rolled oats (Porridge Oats)
250g of plain flour
200g of brown sugar
300g of butter
2 teaspoons of baking powder 

For the fudge filling:

Calorie free, of course.

175g of chocolate chips
150ml of whipping cream
280g of Nutella chocolate spread
120g of icing sugar 

Preheat your oven to 170C

Toss the porridge oats...

Make it 250g though...

Brown sugar...

and baking powder...

into a large mixing bowl and stir them together.

Weigh out the butter...

and chop it into cubes. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients...

Photo credit to my son, Junior.
Rub the butter through the dry mixture using your thumb and fingers.
You should end up with a mixture that looks a bit like this...

Buttery and sticky. Yum.
Grease a 9x13" baking tin and line with parchment paper.

Add half the crumble mixture to the tin and press down with a fork or the back of a spoon. Try to make it as level as possible.

Set this aside and make the Fudge Filling:

Add the chocolate chips and cream to a large bowl...

Chocolate Chunks - One or two may have accidentally fallen into my mouth.

Place the bowl with the chocolate and cream over a pan of simmering water. It is important not to let this get too hot and to make sure none of the water touches the contents of the bowl.

When the two ingredients have melted together add the Nutella.

I did this slowly, in three batches, stirring each time to make a smooth mixture. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the icing sugar, blending until smooth and silky in appearance.

Pour the fudge filling over the crumble base and spread evenly.

Top with the remaining crumble mixture, pressing down gently with a fork.

Now it's ready to pop into the hot oven.
Bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes, turning halfway through to get an even colour. Keep an eye on things after about 25 minutes as the oats can easily 'catch' and burn.

After this first half an hour of baking remove from the oven and let the tray sit for five minutes. Then carefully lift the cake out of the tin using the edges of the parchment. Set the tray over the top then flip everything over so the bottom of the cake becomes the top. Pop back into the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, turning halfway through again. I found this cooked everything through properly and gave a lovely golden brown colour to the finished article.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes then, while it's still warm and pliable, mark out where you are going to cut with a sharp knife. A bit like this...

Can you smell the buttery yumminess?
Allow to cool thoroughly. Take it from me (I almost messed up this entire bake with my lack of patience!) let it cool for at least two hours, preferably in the fridge for a while to let the molten fudge middle cool entirely. This will make getting the slices from the tray a whole lot easier!!

So, here are some pictures of my finished bake. Enjoy!
Perfect with my favourite beverage.

Having tested some I decided to cut these in half. Delicious but very sweet!
Standing on a rickety chair to get an aerial view!
A small piece is more than adequate!

Help yourself, Mrs Oxter!

A gooey fudge layer. Gorgeous.

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