Fruit crumbles are basically a fruit based pudding with a topping made with a crisp, crumbly type mixture. You can use any fruits that you have to hand, either fresh or defrosted from your freezer. It is possible to use combinations of fruits, such as apple and blackcurrants or blackberries. Blackcurrants and josterberries are too strong tasting when used alone, but go very well with apples or pears. They are a traditional way of using fruit in puddings.
My recipes have no added saturated or hydrogenated fats, and only 25% of the total fat of a traditional recipe. There is no added salt and a reduced 25% sugar content compared with a traditional recipe. Even this can even be replaced with a low calorie sweetener if you so wish.
The utensils required are simple. A 20 cm ovenproof dish is suitable for the given quantities, a large mixing bowl, a set of scales or alternatively some measuring cups, a measuring jug, a sieve, a mixing spoon or fork, and some measuring spoons. What could be easier!!
PREPARATION OF THE FRUIT BASE.
Prepare some 500 gm or about 1 litre measure jug of fruit. Peel, core, top and tail the fruit as necessary. Place the fruit in the base of the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of sauce flour or ordinary plain flour if you are using fruit that produces a lot of liquid on cooking (not usually required for apples). This is to thicken the fruit juices during the cooking process. Now sprinkle 2 or 3 Tbsp of sugar or artificial sweetener over the fruit. Reduce the amount of sugar if using eating apples rather than cooking apples. Finally, mix the fruit mixture with a spoon.
If available, you can add a handful of washed, chopped Sweet Cicely leaves to the fruit mixture. This was the traditional way of counteracting the acidity of the fruit and providing some sweetness.
Rhubarb Crumble. Add some 1/2 tsp of ground ginger to the fruit, or 2 tbsp (or to taste) of crystallised ginger pieces.
Gooseberry Crumble. If available, add 2 Tbsp of elderflower cordial or elderflower flower heads to the fruit mixture.
Apple Crumble. Add 1 tsp of cinnamon or 5 cloves OR 2 pieces of star anise to the fruit mixture.
LOW FAT CRUMBLE TOPPING
This recipe will give you a crisp, low fat topping.
Sieve 1.5 cup of plain flour and add 1/2 cup of ground almonds OR 1/2 cup oat bran OR 1/2 cup rolled porridge oats (total 250 g) into a large bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of demerara sugar into the bowl. Now whisk with a fork, 4Tbsp liquid vegetable oil and 3 Tbsp of milk in a cup until the oil and milk become roughly homogenised and sprinkle the liquid onto the dry ingredients. Add the liquid in separate batches, mixing with the fork between adding each lot to improve the consistency. You should end up with a crumb-like topping. If it too dry, try adding another tbsp of milk.
Place the topping on top of the fruit and bake in the oven for 30 min at 200 C (gas mark 6) or until the fruit mixture starts to bubble up through the topping round the edges of the ovenproof dish.
If you like a softer topping, try using ordinary sugar and plain flour only.
Serve with low fat milk, yogurt or custard.