Fumble with a Crumble
This healthy crumble recipe featured in my Winter Warmer cooking class at Made in Hackney last weekend. I’ve been wanting an excuse to work on a healthful version of crumble (my pastry topped apple pies came close), so when I agreed to devise a Winter Warmers community class I couldn’t not put crumble on the menu.
We cooked crumble in one of my first school cooking lessons (memory says we used apples from a tin), it was also a regular pud at Jones Family Sunday Lunches. I seem to be cooking a lot of food that reminds me of my childhood. I’m not sure if there is a reason for this – maybe it’s just bleak winter making me all nostalgic. Anyway, I’m rolling with it.
Crumble is unlike things like cakes, cookies or muffins. With a crumbly cake you’d be in trouble – but a crumbling crumble sounds just about perfect. This means you can play around with textures, flours, fats and sugars without worrying too much about failure. The topping just needs to contain flour + fat + a little sugar to work.
For my recipe I adapted Hemsley & Hemsley’s Apple Crumble. The topping of almonds and flaked almonds seemed too good to pass up. Sometimes there is simply no point in coming up with something from scratch just for scratch’s sake.
I had no intention to turn this into a frangipane flavoured dessert, but once the almonds, sugar, and coconut oil were paired up, I thought – why not enhance the almond flavor further, reminiscent of a Bakewell tart topping or marzipan? Maybe when cherries are in season a cherry crumble would knock that Bakewell tart into something even more spectacular.
As for the ginger? Well, I’m a bit of an addict to this spice. If I were a Spice Girl, I would in fact be (and once was – if you care to imagine) Ginger Spice. Even my hair is a touch ginger in the right light (thanks Mum). Do all gingers like ginger?
- 75g coconut oil, melted, plus a little extra for greasing.
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 120g ground almonds
- 60g flaked almonds
- 1 Tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 medium sized pears, cored and chopped into bite-size chunks
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- First make the crumble. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, then add the almond extract.
- Mix the almonds, sugar and spices in a bowl and add the melted liquids. Mix with a fork until evenly distributed. Place in the fridge to chill (the coconut oil will solidify as it cools, helping things clump together) while the pears stew.
- Put the pears and the lemon juice into a saucepan, cover with a lid and cook gently over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the pears are softened to your preference (I like a mushy crumble).
- Grease the bottom of a 7 inch square oven proof dish with a little coconut oil and fill with the cooked pears.
- Distribute the topping mixture over the pears and bake until bubbly and golden, about 25 minutes.