Friday, February 3, 2012

Pear, Apple and Muesli Crumble – how to banish Winter!

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You’ll probably remember a time when, as a child, you ate an ice cream too fast and your mouth froze and the cold sensation spread to give you an almighty headache. If a city could have that sensation, my home town would have it now. Brrrrrr! There is only one remedy. This place needs crumble. Now!
For 4 servings you will need...
... to pre-heat the oven to 170°C
Crumble mix
100g plain flour
75g butter, cut into small cubes
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
65g caster sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I used mandarin)
100g of your favourite unsweetened muesli

1                    Place the flour and butter in a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour, lifting and crumbling the mixture between your index and middle fingers and your thumbs, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. There’ll be some larger pea-sized lumps but don’t worry. These help make for a good texture in the crumble.
2                    Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. You can pop the mixture into the freezer at this stage for later use if you wish.

Magic ingredient: Don't forget a touch of salt to bring out the sweetness

Filling
200g apple, sliced or chopped
200g of hard pears (such as Conference)
35g sugar or honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

3                    Mix together the filling ingredients and transfer to a square pie dish approximately 21cm x 21cm (8½” x 8½”) and 6cm (2½”) deep. Alternatively, I’ve used 4 individual round pie dishes 11cm (4½”)  diameter and 4.5cm (about 2”) deep.
4                    Cover the fruit mixture with a layer of crumble approximately 1cm thick (½ inch), patting it into place but taking care not to pack it too tightly. Transfer to the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 – 40 mins or until golden brown. Serve with custard or cream and a big fat warm smile because Winter has been banished – from the table at least!
Later that evening...

Variations: Crumble is a great dish to reflect the seasons – rhubarb and strawberry in late Spring, cherry in the Summer, and apple, pear, and blackberry in the Autumn. Vary the flavouring in both the topping and the filling – almond extract is good with a cherry filling, clove loves apple. It’s a dish to be played with and experimented with.
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