Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peach Crispy Crumble

It seems that most people, including myself, get confused when talking about fruit crisps and crumbles. Half the internet thinks a crisp had rolled oats and a crumble doesn’t.  Don’t get me started on cobblers, grunts and pan dowdies.  However, after extensive Google searches, I’ve come to realize that it’s a country of origin thing.  Americans and Canadians call them crisps and the British call them crumbles whether or not they contain oats.  I’m going with “crispy crumble” because my technique creates a wonderful crispy crumbled topping for any fruit.
I used peaches for my crispy crumble because I’ve got a kitchen counter top lined with mini peaches.  In the spring, when the peach blossoms turned to tiny peaches, we were hesitant to thin our young peach tree properly, so now we’ve got a pile of beautiful mini peaches.  Mr. RK requested a peach crisp.

Start by pitting and peeling your peaches.  My peaches are “freestone” so the pits come out easily.  If your peaches are ripe then the skins will peel off easily as well, but you may need a little help from a vegetable peeler.  Because these peaches are so small, I only had to quarter them but you will need to cut them into thick slices.

Next, grease a baking dish.  I used a 9”x 6” baking dish but you can use an 8”x 8” cake pan.  Fill the baking dish with the peaches.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of flour over the peaches to help thicken the juices as it cooked.

In a bowl, mix the crumble ingredients together with a pastry cutter.  All crumble recipes are made with the same basic ingredients, flour, sugar and butter.  I altered these basics a little buy using half unbleached white flour and half almond meal.  Almonds and peaches work well together. (You can turn this into a gluten free crumble by replacing the wheat flour with your favorite gluten free blend.)  I also used half unbleached sugar and half brown sugar, and I substituted Earth Balance butter substitute for the real thing.  No cholesterol.  You could also mix this together in a food processor.

The secret to making a really good crumble is in how it’s applied.  You want to grab handfuls of the topping and squeeze it in your palm.  The butter should hold it together.  Then “crumble” the topping mixture on top of the fruit.  It should have some large chunks and small ones.  Work all of the topping mixture in this way until the fruit is completely covered.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is nice and brown.

Eat is warm, I think it’s best that way.  You could add a scoop of ice cream but I prefer it without.

Peach Crispy Crumble
Makes 6 servings - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
4 cups pitted, peeled and sliced fresh peaches (or any other kind of fresh fruit)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour 
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup unbleached sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter substitute
Preheat your oven to 350°
Grease a baking dish that’s approximately 8”x 8”
Put the fruit in the baking dish.
Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour over the fruit and stir gently to incorporate it.
In a bowl mix together the flour, almond meal, and both sugars.
Add the Earth Balance.
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter chunks are the size of peas.
Grab a handful of this mixture and squeeze it in your palm and then crumble it on top of the fruit.
Repeat this until all of the topping mixture has been used up.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is nice and browned.
Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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