It’s kind of crazy that I’ve been blogging for almost two years and haven’t written about crumble. Crumble is my favourite food. I love most things edible and but when it comes to crumble, I’m happy to play favourites. I seek it out on menus and it’s all I want to eat when I’m sick. I’ve tried dozens of recipes over the years but never really found a forever recipe (there are too many I want to try!).
For a long time I made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe that involves the traditional method of rubbing cold butter into flour. There was a brief moment with this polenta crumble which you make by pouring lots of melted butter over a mixture of flour and egg. This crumble is delicious, with a perfect crispy topping that cracks as you dig in, but one of the best parts of making crumble is eating it cold out of the fridge the next day and I found that the melted butter drips through the fruit and hardens in the fridge. I’m all for a little delusion but even I struggle with a butter soaked breakfast. Thankfully, I found an appropriately austere yet delicious breakfast crumble in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It involves my favourite crumble method so far – Deb has you melt the butter but rather than pouring it over the flour, you mix it with the dry ingredients to make rough crumbly clumps. It avoids the pools of melted butter and you don’t have to get your hands dirty. A word of warning though: this is not as fancy as crumble gets – I probably wouldn’t serve it at a dinner party – but it’s perfect for quiet weekend dinner or eating with yogurt for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Breakfast Stone Fruit Crumble (adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman)
The recipe below is a starting off point but I switch it up all the time, depending on what’s in season and what I feel like. I aim for about a kilo of fruit – apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums in the summer, pears in the winter with a couple of handfuls of frozen berries whenever they’re lurking in the freezer. I generally toss the fruit with a couple of tablespoons of flour and a pinch of cinnamon but don’t bother with sugar unless the fruit is on the sour side (in which case, throw in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar). Honestly, it would be difficult to mess this up, so ring the changes however you like.
750g – 1 kg stone fruit, roughly sliced into pieces of about 1/2 cm) (I peel apples and pears but don’t bother with peaches and nectarines)
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
55 g butter
50 g (1/4 c) raw sugar
40 g (1/2 c) rolled oats
50 g (scant 1/2 c) wholemeal rye flour
15 g almond meal
1/4 c – 1/3 c chopped nuts (macadamias, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are all delicious)
1. Preheat the oven to 200’C/400’F. Place the fruit into a oven proof dish (I used a 24cm Falcon baking dish) and toss with the flour and spices.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar, oats, flour, almond meal and nuts and stir until large clumps form. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit has softened. Check it at about the 20 minute mark and cover with foil if it’s browning too fast (I find that some nuts, macadamia nuts especially, brown much faster than others).