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Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 6, 2007: Fruit crumble

I don't eat enough fruit. A fresh, seasonal piece of fruit is a wonderful thing but I haven't fully developed my ability to select and promptly eat it. It's not that I haven't tried - probably once a month, I'll pick out a cheap bag of whatever's at its peak or just one or two pieces of something exotic I've never tried before. Either way, at least two pieces of fruit will loiter for a week or more before I guiltily dispose of them (most guiltily if I only bought two pieces of fruit in the first place). Last winter I took up fruit crumbles in a more creative bid to eat my fruit. You may snort that fruit crumble defeats my nutritional purpose, but this is a dual attack of getting more fruit and less after-dinner chocolate into me. Moreover, I've developed some junk-limiting rules for my homemade crumbles:

1. There will be much more fruit than crumble;
2. The layer of fruit may have a touch of lemon juice or spice added, but no additional sugar;
3. There will be oats and nuts in the crumble;
4. Crumble will not be accompanied by cream or ice cream. A dollop of yoghurt is permitted if yoghurt already resides in the house. Otherwise a small glass of milk serves the food-combining issue sufficiently.

On this night I probably only deserved 2 - 3 out of four points for maintaining the spirit of the rules. That's a teensy weensy spoon of mascarpone you see, but I promise that it was in the fridge already, and not bought especially for this purpose! And yeah, I went a bit overboard with the crumble.

Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini fame is quite the crumble lover, and has a number of recipes for it on her blog. I like to use her ingredient weights as a guide, altering the fruit, nuts, spice, sugar and flour type from batch to batch. (Pictured above is spiceless apple, pear and almond rendition.) Rather than rubbing the ingredients together by hand, I take the fast and furious approach of the food processor, which has the nuts, oats and butter melding together most agreeably.

Fruit crumble

At least four serves of fruit (a 'serve' being an apple, a pear, a couple of plums, etc)
a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of spice (optional)
50g flour
50g oats
50g sugar
50g butter
25g nuts

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Peel, de-seed and otherwise prepare your fruit, then cut it into chunks. Throw it into a small to medium-sized baking dish. Stir through some lemon juice and/or spice if you want it.

Put the flour, oats and sugar into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine them. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the mix, processing a bit longer this time. When you've got the fine breadcrumb look, add the nuts and process until it looks like biscuit dough (some remaining nutty chunks are good). Alternatively, process to the biscuit dough stage after adding the butter and then stir the whole nuts in. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crumbly crust begins to brown.


  1. I love fruit crumble in winter...mmmm. I get frozen raspberries or blueberries and mix them in the apple and pear mix (with a squeeze of lemon) to add some berry zing to the crumble. Pears and frozen blackberries go well together in a crumble. A big dollop of custard on top is perfect too for a winter's night desert. I think a dark chocolate with roasted hazelnuts would work well in a crumble but not sure about what fruit to use though...

  2. Fruit crumble is delicious and for me, a dessert for any time of the year. Apple and rhubarb remains one of my favourites. Blackberry and pear (as Mary says above) is also fantastic. Rhubarb or raspberry adds a lovely rich red colour to the whole dish and I love the level of tartness both additions bring to the crumble.

  3. Oh yeah, I am right with you girls on the berries! I sometimes get a box of frozen berries and ration them out over a few crumbles (with apples and a bit of lemon, just like Mary!). We haven't used rhubarb at home, though, and will have to try it sometime. I like a bit of tang or tartness in my desserts too, Mel. :-)

    Mary, dark chocolate and hazelnuts make me think of 'earthy' fruits like pear again. I also think of orange zest, but not orange flesh! I'd love to know what you come up with. (BTW, Mary, do you have your own blog? Blogger tells me your profile is not publicly shared so I can't tell.)

  4. Fruit crumble, chilly nights. Great combination! No extra sugar on the fruit for me either, though I do toss pears in particular in a mixture of ground cloves, cinnamon, ground ginger and orange zest.

    The mascarpone addition - yum!

  5. Lucy, I think I should begin using citrus zest more often - I love its aroma. (Funnily enough there's a 2-day-old savoury recipe with orange zest coming right up!) Cloves, cinnamon and ginger seem to be a classic combination for pears.

  6. Hey Cindy,
    I am new to the blog world - have managed in probably twice the amount of time that your average computer savvy person to put up my blogger profile. I have a sense of achievement now and will celebrate by going out to eat a yummy breakfast...
    The Where's the Beef? blog is fun and a life saver for me as I am a vegetarian too and live in the Carlton area. Looking forward to reading about more of your cooking and eating escapades.

  7. And now I have just found out that I'm 'Beppo' instead of 'Mary'.

  8. Thanks for introducing yourself a bit more, Mary. :-) I just wanted to make sure I wasn't accidentally snubbing a friendly commenter by not visiting their own space!

    I set up a little holiday blog last year and that helped me get a handle on the process before embarking on this one. Also, Michael is far more tech-savvy than I - this would be an absolute mess of too-small pictures and broken links without some problem-solving and a couple of tutes from him.

    We're glad you enjoy your visits here and wish you the best on settling into Melbourne. Please drop us a comment if you make any exciting edible discoveries of your own! We love to receive recommendations.