I’m writing about sweet things again. I apologise. Despite how it looks here, I can assure you that I do eat proper food. Promise.
One of the things I love about the street I live on is the cats. Almost every other house has one and they can often be seen parading up and down, jumping on walls and hiding under cars. Being surrounded by pets reminds you that you are in a part of the city where people actually live. Real people, not just those with a city bolthole they use from time to time. My favourite cat is a fluffy ginger one that lives at the end of the street. Regardless of what time I am arriving home, he always seems to be there to greet me.
My friends John and Heather have just got a cat, and on Friday we popped over to meet him. He is just too cute and, despite my being allergic to his fur, we became firm friends.
I baked these cherry oat bars to take for them as a little gift. I seem to be making quite a lot of cake bars at the moment – I think it’s because I seem to be transporting bakes across town, and are more robust than a cake or cupcakes. These are a cake bar combined with a fruit flapjack, with an oat crumble baked into the topping. Cherries have recently gone out of season, but the tinned ones work well. Just make sure that they are well drained as the coloured liquid will spill into the base and ruin the effect of the layers. If you don’t fancy cherries, other fruits will work equally well.
Cherry Oat Bars
For the bottom layer and topping
185g plain flour
100g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
175g butter, at room temperature
90g rolled oats
For the filling
400g tin black cherries, drained and halved
2 large eggs
175g caster sugar
40g plain flour
125ml natural yoghurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 175ºc. Spray a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin with cake release spray (I use Dr Oetker’s).
In a medium bowl, combine the plain flour, icing sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Rub in the butter until you have a smooth dough. Separate a small handful of the dough (about half a cup) into a separate bowl, this will be used later to make the topping. Press the remaining dough into the base of the tin, spreading evenly to cover. Bake for around 15 minutes until brown at the edges.
Arrange the black cherries over the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, caster sugar, plain flour, natural yoghurt, lemon juice and salt until well combined. Pour this mixture over the cherries.
Add the rolled oats to the reserved dough and rub together to form a crumble. Sprinkle this over the top of the tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until set. When baked it should have a very slight wobble. If it is too wobbly, return to the oven.
Adapted from a recipe by Joy the Baker.