Just a few minutes rubbing simple ingredients together https://youtu.be/KLoqXRAN1QA
and you have the basics of a great pudding or savoury dish.
I was cooking with near-neighbour Gary who has very little sight due to his incredibly rare Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. He’d challenged me to make an apple crumble as good as his own which features sultanas soaked in whisky.
I was determined to offer him a strong alternative in both fruit and topping departments. Inspired by a French apple tart, I used raisins soaked in rum and the topping has no flour.
I devised this alternative crumble for my late mother who was wheat intolerant. Although the main ingredient of oats may still not be suitable for those who need a strict gluten-free diet, they may work for many others.
It’s a very simple mix of 2 parts porridge oats to one part each butter, soft brown sugar and crushed hazelnuts. I used to chop the nuts by hand but there were always too many shooting away on to the floor, Now, it is much easier and faster to use some kitchen equipment. A mill attachment for a wand blender, a mill for coffee beans or, much noisier, a food processor. Then the ingredients just need rubbing through your fingers until they are evenly blended together. It takes about 40 minutes at Gas 4 to cook the fruit and topping. I always have a bag of this crumble mix in the freezer – a pudding in minutes. And you can be very inventive with fruit combinations. In addition to apple, the rum-raisins are excellent in a tropical fruit crumble with pineapple, mango, bananas and more. And ripe apricots are perfect on their own.
I’ve done savoury crumbles too: oats, butter, some nuts, herbs, ground dried garlic and other flavours to make a topping for par-cooked vegetables or even fish – there is no end to the inventions you can create.
Next time, I’m making a Sri Lankan beef curry with Steve – now I know how to use the tamarind paste that has been sitting in a cupboard for too long.