Nigella Lawson fans may recognize this delicious Apple-Blackberry Kuchen from her show. She promised that it was a very easy recipe and she was right. I whipped up the dough late Saturday night, bumbling around in a dimly lit kitchen, to avoid waking up our bird, Tee Tee. Her anger, when aroused, is truly awful. I made the dough in a jiffy, then stashed it to rise slowly in the fridge overnight. Then, Sunday morning, I quickly patted out the dough, tumbled the apple-berry mixture on top, covered it with a nutty, buttery topping, and baked it. Nigella always has that moment when she slowly and ecstatically eats something. I think I once read that the term "Food Porn" was created for her show. On Sunday morning, there I was gobbling a big chunk of the kuchen with such abandon, I wound up with purple smears of blackberries on my chin. This is one great recipe.
I made my dough very quickly in my food processor. The dough was soft and somewhat sticky at that point. It rose in the fridge over night and by the time I turned it out of the bowl the next morning, it was no longer sticky.
The recipe makes a small amount of dough, creating doubts you can fit it in a jelly roll pan. Don't worry, you'll be able to do it. Rest the dough for about 10 minutes after you turn it out of the bowl. Then pat it and stretch the dough to fit inside the pan. Then set the dough aside to rise for about 20 minutes.
This is a great dish for the weekend. It's easy to fix and full of wonderful flavors. I think you're supposed to let it cool a little before you eat it. But, I can tell you that it tastes just great, minutes out of the oven. Who can wait?
Apple and Blackberry Kuchen
(Nigella Lawson, Nigella Bites)
2 1/4 to 2 1/3 cups white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 package (1/4-ounce package) rapid-rise yeast (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
scant 1/4 cup butter, softened
13 x 9-inch jellyroll pan
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of cream and a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 small or 1/2 medium firm, tart apple (approx. 6 ounces in weight)
1 2/3 cups blackberries
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup self-rising flour (I used regular all-purpose and it was fine)
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Demerara, or granulated brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
1. Put 2 1/4 cups of the flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar and yeast.
2. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add them, with the vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon, to the lukewarm milk.
3. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a medium-soft dough, being prepared to add more flour as necessary.
4. Work in the soft butter and knead by hand for about 10 minutes or half that time by machine. (Even less if you use a food processor.) When the dough is ready it will appear smooth and springy: it suddenly seems to plump up into glossy life.
5. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave until doubled in size (an hour to an hour and a quarter). Or leave to rise slowly in a cold place overnight.
6. Then punch down and press to line a jellyroll pan measuring 13 x 9 inches. When it's pressed out on the pan, leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes and then brush with the egg and cream mixture.
7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and chop the apple and toss it in a bowl with the blackberries and the zest from the other half lemon. Set aside in the bowl for the few minutes it takes to make the crumble topping.
8. Put the flour, ground almonds and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine, then add the cold, diced butter. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour. Stop when you have a mixture that resembles clumpy (this is a very buttery mixture) oatmeal. Fork in the sugars and flaked almonds.
9. Scatter the fruit over the egg-washed dough and then sprinkle the crumble on top of that. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350°F and cook for a further 20 minutes or so, until the dough is swelling and golden at its billowing edges and the crumble is set; don't expect it to be crunchy.
10. Remove from the oven and cool. Or just start eating! It's best eaten warm.