Pimp Your Crumble: from Poached Pear Princesses to Tinned Peach Tony
I love a good crumble. Tasty? Yep. Comfort food? Sure. But, more than that, crumbles are the wise homeschool mama’s choice for putting food on the table that is healthy, inexpensive and – because a large crumble will typically last you a few days – reduces time spent preparing food. But crumbles don’t have to be the logical step between sambuca nights and incontinence pads. In fact, this post is going to teach you how to make crumbles so badass, they’ll be writing their own blog. Cooking is instinctive so I’m going to breeze you through the details. (We all know what a basic crumble is, right?) Spoons at the ready. Custard, we salute you!
The Poached Pear Princess
This is a little beauty. Poach your pears with a small amount of water (no need to add sugar, but do go in with a sprinkle of cinnamon if you’re feeling frisky) and fill the base of your crumble dish. Add a few squares of chocolate to the poached pears; dark chocolate is best, although milk chocolate tastes good, too. I actually use cooking chocolate as I find it blends better with the pears. For the topping, simply rub softened butter and a few spoons of sugar into a large bowl of ground almond and cover the fruit base. You know your oven. Do what you have to do. Serve butt naked. This crumble doesn’t want a dollop of yoghurt weighing it down.
Tony’s Basic Bitch Tinned Peaches with Punch
Actually a real recipe from Tony at our local Italian deli. Standard crumble topping which, for those of you experiencing a mental blank before Gu desserts came along, involves rubbing butter, sugar and flour together to make breadcrumbs. Now, here comes the fun bit. Ready? Several cans of tinned peaches, a splash of vodka and diced chilli. Oh, you know you want it.. Go as hot as you like and use a wide-based frying pan to get this mixture bubbling, then put the crumble together and bake until golden. Serve with whatever the fuck you like at this point. This one isn’t fussy.
The I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter Brittle (V)
This no-fuss recipe works with everything. Cooking apples and a dash of vanilla essence forms a classic base, although my kids prefer when I sweeten the mixture with a handful of raisins. Dried fruit is also great when cooked down properly beforehand, especially dried apricots, prunes and figs. The key here lies in the topping, because we are replacing butter with cashew butter or, at a push, coconut oil. Massage in the flour and sugar, expecting the raw topping to have a rather more oily texture. You might find that swapping flour for porridge oats absorbs the flavour better for this one, although oats don’t brown well, so add a sprinkle of nuts if you want to be fancy. Always a sprinkle of nuts.
One Hot Mama
Ginger is my favourite body-cleansing ingredient and this take on a classic apple crumble uses it in abundance. Stew cooking apples with a pinch of cinnamon and grated ginger, adding a bit of sugar unless you’re feeling brave, because this one is going to bite back. Reduce the mixture over a low heat, pour into a dish and add the topping. If you don’t like too much heat then avoid more ginger at this point, but personally I add the rest of the grated ginger to the topping with a handful of pecans. Because of the warmth of this pud, it’s one of the few crumbles where I would recommend a cooling accompaniment to serve, such as clotted cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bish, bash, bosh.
The Screw-Sunday-Lunch Veggie Bake
Oh, hello! Savoury crumbles? Say what, now?! If this isn’t on your weekly menu, it needs to be. Root vegetables work well for the base, so think along the lines of carrots, parsnips, potatoes, leeks and onions cooked down over a medium heat with a scoop of butter and a pint of vegetable stock, then pour into the base of the crumble. If you want indulgence, add a cheese – or vegan alternative – sauce and combine with the vegetable mix. For the topping, I would recommend wholegrain plain flour, ground walnuts and olive oil, which keeps it lighter than adding dairy again. No need for a thick topping if you have potatoes as well. Stick a fork in me; I’m done.