With a strong witch’s brew
This isn’t exactly a Hallowe’en post. I bought the littl’ witch last week for 50p in a local charity shop, and had to include her. As for the lighting: three things about this crumble took far longer than expected so I ended up having to use artificial light. The pears I bought were so darn firm they took over 30 minutes to poach. The crumble topping took longer to prepare this time as it took an age for the molasses raw cane sugar to dissolve sufficiently into the mixture. And this took at least another 10 minutes to bake, even though I was using a slightly higher oven temperature. Because of all of that I couldn’t take photos without using a table lamp. Yep, I can’t buy white light bulbs here, and my camera doesn’t like its incandescent setting. Anyway, thought the light was vaguely reminiscent of a witches cavern, sort of. OK, with a long stretch of the imagination. Besides, as I have some of the filling and topping left over I can make fresh tomorrow and take more photos in better light. :)
After my last crumble I really wanted to change the topping for this one. Glad to say this worked really well for me, especially as I’m not as adept at baking. This is verging on a healthy dessert, with very little sugar used. Here, I’ve used raw cane sugar for the first time. How healthy that is I don’t know about. What I do know is that my system can’t deal with lots of butter nor thee white poison – white sugar. Certainly, with the last crumble, the sugar rush I was getting felt like I was astral jetting – at high speed – with my eyes wide open! So, I’ve not only reduced the sugar I’ve cut right back on the butter as well and have used a little olive oil instead. Tastes equally as good, if not better. And, so far, my system isn’t, ahem, revolting. Well, had to write that didn’t I. Besides, with my haircut (that needs cut) it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to reply to several inquiries whilst out food shopping earlier, no, I’m not in costume…I’m just feeling a littl’ rough! OK, OK, a lot!?!
Little bit of an update: I’ve since cooked another crumble very similar to this one, excepting replacing the persimmons with Angelino plums. I also, more importantly, reduced the amount of sugars even further! Whew, this is turning out so healthy it’s possible to eat two portions instead of one. For that crumble please click here. It’s pretty much the same recipe as I’ve already updated the ingredients below.
Serves 2 – 3
For the filling:
- ½ x lemon, rolled under palms before juicing, juice poured through a fine sieve
- 3 x medium or about 360g (12.69 oz) x firm Conference pears, peeled, cut in half and cored. Also cut out their threads (that lead to the stem) by cutting a ‘v’ shape along its length. Cut them into chunks and place them, as they’re prepared, in freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent discolouration
- 4 – 8 x dried apricots, cut into slices
- up to 14 mm (½ an inch) x fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated – optional or a pinch or two of ground ginger (use less to begin with, allow to infuse before adding more) – optional
- up to 100ml x (0.211 US pt lqd) water (use half to begin with)
- 2 x or about 360g (12.69 oz) x ripe persimmons, top sliced off and, using a teaspoon, scrape all of the flesh into a suitable bowl. If not as ripe: peel and roughly chop
For the topping:
- 100g (3 .52 oz) x self-raising flour (all-purpose flour with baking soda)
- 15 – 20g (0.52 – 0.70 oz) x light brown sugar, less or more to personal taste
- 20g (o.70 oz) x molasses raw cane sugar, less or more to personal taste
- 30g (1.05 oz) x butter, at room temperature
- about 4 x dst olive oil (use half first, incorporate fully, then add more)
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Preheat oven to 200°C, 392°F or Gas 6
- If using ripe pears skip the next instruction – although do poach the dried apricots to rehydrate them.
- Prep the lemon and have the juice in a suitable bowl. Prepare the pears and place in the lemon juice. When all of the pears are ready add them to a large heavy-based saucepan with half of the water (and the lemon juice). Put on electric heat No 3 for up to 30 minutes (if pears are very firm). Add the sliced apricots at this stage, too. When the pears are no longer crunchy take off heat and set aside. Do check them, and if necessary add more water.
- If using fresh ginger add to the above instruction to cook out its rawness. If using ground ginger add sparingly, about a quarter of a teaspoon, allow time for that to infuse before tasting again and adding more.
- In the meantime prep the persimmons and set aside.
- Cut the butter into small cubes at room temperature. Add flour and sugars to a large suitable bowl and add the butter. Either with your hands or with a pastry blender blend the mixture until it starts to feel like sand. The proper way is to get this completely combined with no lumps, especially the raw cane sugar. Squish any small lumps of the raw cane sugar between fingers to incorporate fully.
- Transfer all of the fruit mixture to a suitable ovenproof dish. Spoon over the topping as evenly as possible. Put on the second shelf up if using electric. I used to place this on the second shelf down when using gas. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the topping if golden brown. And the filling is starting to bubble around the edges.
- Serve crumbles with cream (single/light or double/heavy), ice cream or thin custard.
All photographs within Feed the piglet:
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