Hansel & Gretel is from the Brother’s Grimm, a story that does little for the reputation of witches but has advanced the cause of gingerbread houses everywhere.
Even though the crumbs did not help get Hansel & Gretel home immediately. They did represent quick thinking, resolve and fortitude in the face of obstacles, something we can all use to face the challenges life sends our way.
Fairy tales are short stories with a lesson and a bit of magic. Beyond that, the only thing experts really agree on when trying to define a fairy tale….. they don’t require a fairy.
February 26, 2016 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day and Crumb Cake seemed like an ideal fit, especially when made just the right size for little hands to manage and lots of crumbs to share with the fae.
Under the Tor in Glastonbury, England is said to be one of the entrances to the land of the fairies. It is also said that if you find the entrance and go through, it is best not to eat anything offered by the fairies or returning home will take a long, long time.
It doesn’t say what happens if YOU are the one offering nibblies to the fairies. Maybe they will make your home theirs for a long, long time. We can only hope.
You will need for the gluten free option:
1 1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
3/4 cup almond flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk plus 2 Tbsp.
2 tsp vanilla ( or rum or almond ) flavouring
1/2 cup jam ( optional )
3 Tbsp. chopped almonds
1 tsp. Cinnamon ( optional )
” Fairies come please, help us play. We’re baking crumb cakes here today. We are friendly, kind and warm, take shelter from the winter storm “.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pan/tin of your choice. There are several options.
1. 8 x 8 inch pan ( The quick and simple option )
2. Regular size muffin tin ( Should make about 7 )
3. Tart shell pans
4. Mini muffin tins ( 24 to a tray ) Best size for fairies.
Dust the greased pan with flour. You can also use the almond meal or a mixture of the two or use paper liners in the muffin tins. My nibblers like crunchy edges.
Measure all the dry ingredients into a bowl and blend together. Make sure all the little clumps of baking powder and baking soda have been broken up. Cut in the butter and mix until crumbled. Take out 2/3 cup of crumbs and set aside.
Mix together all the liquid ingredients and add to the dry. Gently mix until moist. Gluten free flours absorb more liquid and if the batter seems a little dry, add one – two extra tablespoons of buttermilk.
To the crumble add the chopped almonds and cinnamon if you are adding and toss.
8 x 8 Inch pan option
Transfer the batter to the pan. Top with jam if using and finish with the crumble. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.
Muffins, tarts or mini’s
Spoon into the muffin pans. ( The smaller the tins, the smaller the spoon ) leaving an indent in the middle for the jam, Once the tins are filled go through the process again with the jam. Too much jam will make the treat stick to the sides of the pan.
Take the remaining crumble and add in the chopped almonds and optional cinnamon. Place crumbled topping on jam and bake 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size of the crumb cakes. If you have happened to overfill on jam, remove from tins before jam cools and starts to stick to the sides of the pan.
This will be a slightly heavier crumb cake due to the almond flour but not as sandy as straight all purpose flour would make the finished product. There is no xantham gum and it should be relatively easy to find all the ingredients if this is your first time doing something gluten free.
For the German wheat flour variety you will need:
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sifted pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped nuts
The method is the same as above. Take out one cup of crumbs for the topping before adding the liquids. Add chopped nuts to the crumbs and toss. Top batter with jam if you would like to before topping with crumb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees in a 9 x 13 pan for about 40 minutes. This makes a larger cake or many more mini’s. Since crumbs are just the right size for fairies this is definitely a quicker option. I have been told fairies don’t like using knives, so lots of soft pieces to crumble and share.
The ones below were make in tart shells.
Alternate crumb option
Because I was playing with all sorts of options, I ran out of crumble topping mix. The mini’s below are topped with a mixture of 3Tbsp. almond flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp, butter and 1 Tbsp, gluten free flour. I also did not add the jam to these as I was planning on hot chocolate with the youngins.
So choose a good fairy tale, collect the kids, brew up something warm against these cold damp winter days and settle down by the fire place or under a blanket. There are infinite ways to find your way home.
Hansel & Gretel Crumb Cake ( two options) from My Kitchen Wand