Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pear and Raspberry Crumble

Growing up in a family who loves food, we have each developed our unique speciality in the kitchen. My father cooks fresh fish to perfection, my younger brother is the crayfish expert, my eldest brother is the coffee fanatic, I make the desserts, and my mother simply fills in all the gaps.

My mother involved me in the kitchen, grating cheese or peeling carrots and, before I can really recall, I was baking brownies, carrot cake and apple crumble - my claim to fame. Over the years my apple crumble has evolved to much more creative versions with added local blueberries, or rhubarb from my father’s garden. I also started experimenting with different ingredients in the crumble, substituting some of the flour with ground almonds or adding desiccated coconut, raw oats and muesli for a healthier version.

I was so excited to see the beautiful brown pears on the shelves this winter- they are more crispy and firm than their green cousins. I slowly simmered them in syrup with a touch of white wine, added frozen raspberries, for a touch of colour and made a crispy crust with almond flour.
Over the years, fruit crumble still remains one of my favourite desserts for a wintery evening, complimented by thick mascarpone cheese or slightly sweetened, soft whipped cream - delicious.

Enjoy this basic fruit crumble recipe and allow your imagination to run away with you!

Ingredients for Basic Fruit Crumble
(6 Servings)

6 cups of green apple/ brown pears/nectarines
¼ cup blueberries/raspberries/ gooseberries /rhubarb (optional)
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 cinnamon stick/ vanilla pod
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup coconut or ground almonds (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup soft butter
Pinch of salt


· Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
· Cut the fruit into bite sized chunks or wedges.
· If using apples, peel them.
· Place fruit in a saucepan, add ¼ cup water, the castor sugar and the cinnamon stick or vanilla pod and boil on a low heat, without a lid, until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat.
· Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt until well blended.
· The butter must be soft, but not melted, mix this into the flour mixture with your finger tips until it resembles crumbs.
· Place fruit and some of the sauce from the saucepan in a baking dish and sprinkle the crumble mix over the fruit evenly.
· Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes, or until the crumble layer is slightly brown.
· Serve when warm with double cream, mascarpone or ice-cream.

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