Crumb is a baking cookbook from the young and talented Ruby Tandoh, with a focus on charming, flavorful, and practical dishes that celebrate the pleasure of casual baking.
Crumb ’s explanatory and evocative prose promotes everyday baking without sacrificing the joy of the craft, defying the style of both showy, highly decorated baking as well as the dry, informative tone of “serious” baking books. A delight to read as well as to bake from, recipes like Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Pecan and Rosemary Tartlets, Raspberry Whisky Pavlova, and Blood Orange Polenta Cake are interspersed with the virtues of different types of apples, a reminiscence about Belgian buns, and a passage on the need to knead. Covering a range of baking projects from sweet to savory, chapters include cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, pies, tarts, and more.
Reprinted with permission from Crumb by Ruby Tandoh, © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography © 2015 by Nato Welton. You can purchase Crumb at your local bookshop or through our affiliate links with Amazon or IndieBound.
These muffins are what I like to eat with a mug of black coffee on a lazy weekend, as the morning pushes into the afternoon. They’re substantial without being stupefyingly rich—a welcome alternative to buttery pastries or a full breakfast, yet without the dour frugality of a bowl of porridge. The whole wheat flour lends them a reassuringly virtuous edge (although you can swap this for all-purpose flour if you really must). Grapefruit, zested into the batter and decorating the tops of these muffins, gives a citrus kick. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they’re a healthy breakfast superfood, though: no matter how you dress it up, it’s still cake for breakfast.
You can make the batter in the evening, so it will be ready to cook the next morning. Just cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. But it is a quick batter to make, and not unfeasible for breakfast-time—you can prepare the batter in 15 minutes and have freshly baked muffins, ready to eat, within an hour.
These muffins are best eaten right away (they’re at their lightest and fluffiest while still slightly warm), which is why I have given the quantities for a batch of only 6 here—enough for three people. If you’re feeding more, or serving people with very healthy appetites, the recipe can very easily be doubled or even tripled, according to your needs.
- 1 grapefruit (I use pink grapefruit)
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 100 grams superfine sugar (7 tbsp) or light brown sugar (½ c)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 40 grams (½ c) quick oats
- 60 grams (½ c) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons sugar (preferably demerara), for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the muffin tin with paper liners.
- Grate the zest of the grapefruit into a large bowl. Cut one half of the grapefruit into six segments, trim away the peel and pith from each, and set aside. (You can wince your way through the remaining half grapefruit while you wait for the muffins to bake.)
- Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Add the butter and sugar to the zest and beat to combine. Stir in the egg, yogurt, and oats. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the zest mixture and stir briefly until just combined, being careful not to stir any more than is absolutely necessary, as any excess mixing can strengthen the structure of the batter, resulting in chewy, heavy muffins.
- Spoon the batter into the paper liners. It shouldn’t reach any higher than two-thirds up each liner; otherwise the muffins will overflow while baking and you will get far more muffin top than you bargained for.
- Perch a grapefruit segment on top of each muffin and sprinkle with the 4 teaspoons of sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, until well risen and springy.
Variations: If the thought of grapefruit sets your teeth on edge, swap it for a small handful of raisins stirred into the batter, and possibly a little cinnamon, too. Blueberries could also be used for a more traditional morning muffin.
Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, has a powerful flavor; it’s reminiscent of peanut butter but far more bitter. Yet lightened with lemon zest and well sweetened, it mellows to a gentler nuttiness. The result is a delicate cookie, as tender as shortbread but without the heaviness. You’ll find tahini in the international or natural food section of most supermarkets, and in Middle Eastern grocery stores and natural food stores.
- 120 grams (8½ tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 120 grams (½ c) tahini
- 120 grams superfine sugar (8½ tbsp) or granulated sugar (½ c + 1½ tbsp)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 240 grams (1¾ c + 3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter, tahini, and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then mix in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, mashing gently under the back of a spoon to combine.
- Roll out about 24 chestnut-sized balls from the mixture and space them apart on the baking sheet. Pat each ball down to a flattish disk about ⅜ inch thick. It doesn’t matter in the slightest if the cookies have little cracks around the edge. You can use a fork at this point to make lines or a crosshatch pattern on the top of the cookies.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. The cookies will be very crumbly when first baked, but leave them on the baking sheet and they will become firmer as they cool.
This dessert actually uses a batter similar to pancake batter, but because it’s enriched with plenty of sugar and butter and baked to a slight wobble, it feels more like a thick custard. It’s usually made with cherries, but the floral fruitiness of blueberries works very well.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 90 grams (6 tbsp + 1 tsp) superfine sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 40 grams (⅓ c) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 tablespoons milk
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 400 grams (2⅔ c) frozen or fresh blueberries
- 30 grams (¼ c) confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a little of the melted butter to grease the pan. Sprinkle roughly 1 tablespoon of the superfine sugar evenly within the greased pan to coat.
- Whisk the eggs with the remaining superfine sugar, then stir in the flour, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the milk, half-and-half, and remaining melted butter.
- Arrange the blueberries in the bottom of the prepared pan, then slowly pour in the batter. (If using frozen blueberries, use them straight from the freezer; otherwise they’ll dye the batter an unappetizing shade of gray.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until just set with only a bit of wobble in the center. If you’ve used frozen blueberries, it may take a little longer. The clafouti will have risen and turned golden brown in parts, and the blueberries will have burst their papery skins and melted down to pockets of fragrant blueberry juice. Let cool until just warm, dust liberally with confectioners’ sugar, and dig in.
Ruby Tandoh is a second-year student at University College London studying Philosophy and Art History, with a goal of building a career in baking, mainly as a writer. She received widespread attention after winning “Star Baker” three times as a finalist on the 2013 season of The Great British Bake Off. Twenty-one years old, she is currently writing a weekly baking column for the Guardian’s Saturday “Cook” supplement.