Gateau Breton and Plum & Ginger Muffins

Written by: Georgina Ingham | Posted: 04-08-2009

In a virtual sense at least do come into my kitchen, sit down and relax, now enjoy a nice slice of cake with a cup of tea or coffee – your choice entirely; now share your views on what you see and eat.

Alongside the choice of beverage you can also choose which sweet bake you would like.

Gateau Breton which can only be described as a rich buttery shortbread/sponge cake cross originating from Brittany (France), which was to be served with a tart rhubarb & black current compote.

The recipe for the gateau came from one of my favourite baking books, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking(Nigella Lawson). As one of the first cookery books I owned,How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking holds a dear place in my ‘library’ of books and it lives forever on the kitchen bookshelf, never to be boxed away or shuffled to another space. Even reading it is comforting activity and Nigella’s magical way with words helps this process along.

I expected the gateau to be nothing spectacular, just a shortbread with a slightly cakier (is that a word?) texture but I was wrong, it is spectacular and the whole cake was eaten within the day of making it, not all by me though I do hasten to add. It is rich but not overly so, perfect for nibbling as it is with a cuppa or for serving post dinner with ice cream, fresh berries or compot. 

The compot was made using a method from Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities (Nigella Lawson). Don’t ask me why I was leafing through a Christmas book in August. The idea couldn’t be more simple; you tip a jar of jam (I used lemon) into a saucepan, add your fruit of choice (rhubarb and black currents) and simmer briskly for around 10 minutes or until the fruit is softened and a good consistency is reached. As I prefer a smooth compote I passed it through a sieve but if you like more texture there is no need at all to bother with that. The use of lemon jam gave an incredible tartness to the finished compote which cut through the rich butteriness of the gateau perfectly; and made it all too easy to reach for that second serving unfortunately.

The alternative being a spiced plum and ginger muffin to be served with lovely fresh clotted cream.

I probably would have skipped by the idea of plum & ginger muffins if it wasn’t for the delivery of some plums in a Box Fresh organic box; they were in desperate need of eating on the day of arrival and I couldn’t see them go in the bin. In view of the poor quality of goods from that company I cancelled my order with them and have gone back to having a Riverford delivery and oh am I glad I did; but enough about me and my organic box troubles.

The recipe for the muffins was inspired by one in the latest Waitrose magazine. The ginger whilst giving a powerful kick to the muffins really doesn’t overpower them at all. It adds a pleasant warmth; a much needed hint of summer heat in our miserable wet grey days right now. Oh when are we going to have our summertime? These are perfect for when you want to rustle up something quick and easy for a sweet treat, you can have them in the oven in under ten minutes, providing you’re relatively quick stoning and chopping the plums. Be careful not to over work the muffin batter, the less you mix the better as it helps give a light fluffy result to the finished product.

Now that the food is sorted we can get down to business. I’m after changing my blog a wee bit and as always would much appreciate your feedback. What would you like to see altered and what would be disappointed to see go? Is there an area you think I specifically need to work on? All comments and views will be gratefully received.


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