Apple/Pear Crumble

A crumble is a very comforting and delicious treat. It is a great way to use up leftover fruit that nobody wants to eat. There is a sense of accomplishment when you use every bit of food that you buy, with no wastage. A crumble then will be the jewel of accomplishments as even the most dilapidated and tired looking apples or pears can be resurrected into something amazingly delicious!
But don’t just stop at apples or pears. Plums are fantastic in a crumble, especially when you buy those hard plums that never seem to be considerate enough to soften so that they can be eaten au naturel. All kinds of berries can be used. Peaches and nectarines for a summer crumble.

I am guessing the reason why apples and pears always seem to feature in crumbles is because almost everybody will have them skulking around somewhere. Peaches, berries and nectarines seem to disappear very quickly versus  apples and pears. And this is a good thing because when cooked, the most driest of fruits can be resuscitated into plump and juicy pieces of deliciousness!

Crumbles can be loosely considered a recipe as you could just as easily make a crumble for 2 people with 5 apples as you can one for 20 people with 3 dozen apples. Precision is not needed here. 

The container that the crumble is baked in is an oven roasting glass or ceramic dish. The size of the dish generally depends on the amount of fruit. For the purposes of this recipe, the amounts will be loosely calculated on 4-5 servings. This is also the amount of fruit that one portion of the crumble will cover. If you have more fruit double the crumble topping. You don’t need  to use all of the crumble topping as leftover crumble topping can be stored in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer and brought out when you find yourself with leftover fruit. 
Leftover fruit can also be lightly cooked and stored in the freezer for later use as well.

use fruit that are sitting around

Cooking the fruit

  • 6 apples ( can use all apples or pears)
  • 6 pears
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2-3 TB of sugar (optional)
  • Skin leftover apples and/or pears. Remove the core and seeds.
  • Cut into quarters or chunky pieces and place in a medium saucepan.
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the fruit and turn the heat to medium.
  • Gently steam the fruit for 10-15 minutes until the pieces soften slightly but still hold their shape. Don’t let the fruit become a mush.
  • Adding sugar is optional as more often than not, apples and pears are quite sweet. If you find that the fruit is still quite tart, add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar while the fruit is cooking. I prefer the fruit without sugar as the crumble topping has enough sweetness. The sweet topping pairs wonderfully with the tart fruit.

Crumble topping

  • 1/3 c (75g) butter
  • 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1/2 c oats
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
crumble should look like rubble
crumble should look like rubble
  • In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large crumbs.
  • Add rest of the ingredients and lightly mix to combine.
fruit pieces should be soft but still hold their shape once cooked

Assembling the crumble

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Place the cooked fruit into the oven-proof dish. (sizes vary – a 20cm x 12cm rectangular dish was used for a combination of 12 small apples and pears.)
  • When the fruit is placed in the dish, it should come up halfway in the dish. 
  • Top the fruit with the crumble topping and spread evenly.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the crumble is a golden brown colour and the fruit juices start bubbling around the sides of the dish.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  • Crumbles are delicious served warm with some thick cream or ice cream. 
crumble before baking
crumble bubbling and golden once baked

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