It was hard to resist the first of the season white peaches at last weekends markets.
They were small, fragrant little jewels from the Riverland, South Australias fruitbowl.
Come Monday night and I was left with 5, slightly bruised little peaches, begging to be made into something delicious.
I decided on a crumble, much loved by so many, the perfect comfort food. It is a dessert that feels so nostalgic, a dessert that relies only on simple, “everyday” ingredients.
I actually have a couple of different crumble methods. At work, when I’m making large quantities, I make the crumble topping either with melted butter, or by first creaming the butter and sugar.
Both of the methods make a splendid, nubbly crumble topping.
The crumble topping for the peach and raspberry was made using the running in method.
Cold butter is rubbed, with the fingertips (or in the food processor) into sugar and plain flour.
This produces a fine, sandy, crunchy topping that is delicate and delicious.
The topping for a fruit crumble is nothing more than a buttery, shortbread like cookie dough, scattered like crumbs in a thick layer on top of your chosen fruit.
Apple is probably the most popular fruit for crumble. Then maybe apricot. I have some other tried and tested fruit bases you might like to try.
The peach and raspberry combo in this recipe
Apple and rhubarb
Apple and blackcurrant/blackberry
Rhubarb and strawberry
Cinnamon poached pear
Peach and blueberry
Apple with sultanas
Really, you are only limited by your imagination, and what you have available.
This is the recipe I used the other night. Gentle reader, it really is just a roadmap. Make adjustments as you see fit. Let your cooks instincts come into play so that you create your own, delectable, signature crumble.
Grease a oven proof dish and 3/4 fill with the fruit/s of your choosing.
I use tinned pie apple and apricot with great success.
Your fruit can be fresh, tinned or stewed, the choice is yours.
Sprinkle over sugar, if you want more sweetness. I used some of my vanilla sugar.
Of course, fruits like rhubarb demand sugar and I actually believe adding sugar helps create a more luscious, syrupy fruit base.
If you stew your rhubarb first, try adding some strawberry jelly crystals as they cook.
Rhubarb and strawberry is a match made in heaven and the jelly crystals seem to somehow reduce the grainy tongue, tannin effects of rhubarb.
Now make your crumble topping.
»»1 cup plain flour
»»1/3 cup, or to taste, caster sugar
»»1/3 cup cold butter
Put everything into a bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar.
When everything is incorporated, you will have a lovely fine, crumbly mix.
You can replace some of the flour with any of these if you like.
»»flaked or slivered almonds
»»chopped hazelnuts (delightful with pears)
Tip your crumble mixture on top of the fruit and spread out evenly.
Bake in a moderate oven for around 40/45 minutes.
A longer bake in a cooler oven results in a better crumble. The fruit forms a wonderful syrup and the crumble topping gets the chance to cook thoroughly, without going too dark.
We are ours with pouring cream, but a bowl of hot crumble is equally delicious with custard or icecream.
Wishing you delicious, sweet times and happy baking.