Today’s Sunday Baking Sunday effort has been a resounding success, if I do say so myself. Go me!
Seems a few of you agree, at least from a visual perspective, as I’ve had lovely likes and comments on Instagram and Facebook as I’ve posted as many photos as a proud mother would of their ‘baby’. Granted, I’ve already eaten a good third of my ‘baby’ so perhaps that’s not a great metaphor.
I’ve been on a bit of a citrus kick in the kitchen lately, so this week as I pondered what to bake, I decided I’d like to take a turn into savoury baking again.
Here she is….
I found a damper pull-apart recipe that I planned to follow in the August 2014 issue of Real Living magazine. The food section in Real Living has a really accessible, delicious selection of recipes, so if you’re a regular reader who usually flicks past that section, I’d encourage you to slow down and try something that their food team has put together.
Though I read through the recipe several times before launching into today’s baking, I still managed to miss several ingredients and steps, which leads me to conclude that I’ve really made a variation on the recipe I was allegedly following. It worked out beautifully, proving that though recipes can be super helpful, they don’t have to be slavishly followed to get a good result. The quantities of flour, buttermilk, salt and butter remained the same, which I think gave me a good foundation for wandering off the suggested path.
So, here’s my variation on the Real Living Pine Nut, Parmesan & Thyme Damper Pull-Apart.
We begin with the name and key ingredients – pine nuts, check, thyme leaves – nope, substituted some dried basil & fresh spinach leaves, parmesan – intended to add it, completely forgot to.
Shrugs shoulders, onwards.
Annette’s Pine Nut, Spinach, Garlic, Sea Salt & Basil Damper Pull-Apart.
1/2 cup pine nuts (I just used a whole little packet of pine nuts which you can buy at the supermarket)
3 1/2 cups of self raising flour
Sea salt flakes
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I made my own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk, then allowing it to stand for 10 minutes)
100g butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used three teaspoons of minced garlic from my trusty jar in the fridge)
A good shake of dried basil (or whatever you like or have on hand)
A handful of fresh spinach leaves, torn.
You’ll also need a baking tray for your pine nuts, and a 20 x 10 cm (ish) loaf tin, also lined with baking paper.
Get your buttermilk organised, if you’re making it with milk and lemon juice/vinegar. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Pop your oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.
Put your pine nuts on a lined baking tray and pop them in the oven as it is coming up to temperature. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want burnt nuts. Should take about 5 minutes to turn a lovely light golden colour.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add 3/4 tsp sea salt flakes and mix. Create a well in the centre of the mixture.
Melt the butter (I did mine in the microwave).
Pour the buttermilk and half of the melted butter into the well you’ve created. Stir until it all comes together into a soft dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface (or try an oiled surface if you’re that way inclined).
Check your nuts again, they should be done by now!
This is the best part – knead that soft dough for just 1 minute! (Helpful tip – I put a bowl of water in the sink before I start this step, so I can wash my fingers off without getting dough all over my taps. I know, right? Super clever!)
Push and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, about 30 x 40 cms. I didn’t bother measuring, and I’m sure my dough didn’t stretch that far!
Add the garlic to your remaining melted butter, mix around a bit and then pour carefully, and evenly over your dough. Grab those golden nuts, sprinkle them over the dough and butter. Doesn’t that look good?! Mmmm. (This is a major deviation from the original recipe, as they wanted the butter and garlic poured over the loaf once it was in the pan. I think perhaps only really impacted the colour of the loaf, and having the extra butter and garlic through the loaf was super tasty.)
Shake your basil or other herbage over the dough, tear your spinach leaves and dot them around the dough artfully, and begin salivating.
Now, the fun part – cut your dough into even strips (vertically) and then stack those strips on top of each other, toppings and all. It’s a good idea to take into account the measurements of your loaf tin at this point. My dough got cut into four strips, just use your best judgement on this.
The dough needed a little help coming off my not-quite-floured enough surface, so it got an extra twisty element as I gently lowered it into the loaf tin.
Bake (at 200) for 45 minutes, then cover the loaf loosely with foil and bake for a further 25 minutes.
Et voila, delicious damper that’s got a golden crust and pulls apart easily to be shared. So good right! And pretty easy. The prep shouldn’t take more than 15 – 20 minutes.
Serve with a good smear of butter, or you could use smashed avocado or those dips you’ve got hanging about in the fridge. In fact, this pull-apart could be the star of a Sunday platter, with some lovely cheeses, ham and olives. The possibilities are endless.
This loaf is definitely in the spirit of Sunday Baking Sunday – which you’re most welcome to join in with on social media using #sundaybakingsunday – it’s all about easy, delicious recipes that you don’t have to follow slavishly. Use the basic ratios, then go crazy. This way when you just forget stuff, it becomes CULINARY ART darling!
Happy baking, enjoy the rest of this sunny Sunday, and let me know if you’re going to try this pull-apart.
What’s your best variation on a recipe? Chat away in the comments here and on social media, I love it when you do!
12 thoughts on “Sunday Baking Sunday – the damper pull-apart edition”
I love your cooking flair! I must say I am a recipe follower – I like the security. But I often follow a recipe, then adapt it writing little notes all over of ingredients and methods that work better. Still like to have the piece of paper with me though – especially with little hands and voices flying all about. Helps me focus and know where I am up to. Doesn’t help me remember to brush my scones with milk before they go int he oven though. Always forget that bit! x
I tried to follow the recipe Kate, I just didn’t manage it!
wow! It turned out so great and yum scrumdiddly umptious I bet. Love the use of the pine nuts and I think your idea to use spinach and basil instead of thyme leaves is a winner. I must try this one for sure. Does your kitchen still smell like a bakery?
It smelled pretty good!
This looks yum. I want to make it right now! I like that you can add your own flavours to it. Clare x
Make it, it’s great!! This will be on my regular rotation I think, with a twist. Sundried tomatoes and olives…. mmmm.
WOW!! Looks amazingly delicious and I love the changes you made to the ingredients. I’m curious – you said bake at 200. Is that the same as 200 degrees in our US ovens? It seems like such a low temperature……. You did a great job with this recipe and I loved the post about it.
Hey Joan, 200 Celsius not Fahrenheit. I think that’s 350/400 ish??
This looks fabulous, Annette! Going to try it on my day off 🙂
It’s a good one Anya! If you do two lots of chopping and stacking it would be even more pull-apart-y I’m sure.
I think your photos say it all Anette! – Thats looks so good. Its a huge step up from any damper I have ever made…. only that on camps at Girl Guides some 30+ years ago!! Your Sunday bake has brought back some wonderful memories though of camping at 14, making a simple damper and cooking it over a dugout fire and then drizzling golden syrup over it! Yours looks wonderful. Pine nuts and basil turn in into another level thats for sure.
It definitely is more flavoursome than the childhood dampers.