I want now to make a humble crumble apology to this delightful dessert that I made a good while ago now...gosh, I think it must have been 2 months ago :o at the beginning of autumn...one of my favourite times of the year, it has to be said. All the colours and the ripening fruits and berries on the trees, and the first few grumbles of "it's cold" floating about in the air alongside the twittering of the swallows as the prepare to depart to warmer climes. And in the orchards of our gardens, one can occasionally hear the odd plop or thud as a ripened fruit drops from its branch to the grassy floor beneath its parent tree.
AND then another falls...and another...and another. And as is often the case when one is lucky enough to have their own fruit trees, supply can be found to be greater than demand. It's lovely to be able to have an apple a day, but in general we don't want to have anymore than that. And so unfortunately - and this is a source of great sadness to Ganache-Elf - walking amongst fruit trees at this time of year is often a scenario which involves a great deal of squishing and slipperiness. Yes, one of the few sights of autumn that doesn't fill me with pleasure...for yes, similar to the way I don't like wasting my Oreos (see previous post.. ;) ), I do so hate to see any kind of lovely fruit go to waste. So it is crucial, in order to maintain this wonderful sense of tranquility brought about at this time of year, to come up with some yummy ideas to utilise as much ripening fruit as possible.
At the very bottom of our garden, we have a small cluster of apple trees, and also a plum tree. Which funnily enough never yielded anything for the past sixteen years we've been at Derryguile House. But this year...it's as if the plum tree felt the sudden need to make up for its general fruitless-ness by producing a bumper crop of purpley-red plums.
Trying to think of ways to use up cooking apples isn't too difficult as I am sure you all know. But plums are something I am not quite so familiar with. Up to this year I admit, I actually don't think I have had a plum before. Biting into one, I had a rather unpleasant surprise to find a little stone inside, which I found rather off-putting. These little guys were just like smaller versions of the much-loved nectarine, only not quite as sweet and with half the quantity of succulent fleshy fruit around the stone. And I had LOADS of them. What on earth was I going to use them for? And then, once again, Daddy Dearest comes to my rescue with a request for plum crumble.
Now I have to say, daddy is (or maybe that should be was..for (sniff sniff) crumble is most certainly not included on the healthy heart diet... :( ) one of those people who really, really does appreciate a good hearty crumble. This, however, was my first ever plum crumble...and I was, initially, pretty much certain that this new addition to the crumbly collection would never, surely, prove as popular as the classic apple and blackberry, or the scrumptious rhubarb. There's just something so wonderfully simple and comforting about crumble; in its irresistible combination of sweet, soft fruit, topped by a buttery, sugary mixture which is delicately crunchy in texture, though not too hard on the teeth...and yes, even though I often feel inclined to put twice the amount of toothpaste on the brush to clean my teeth afterwards to counteract such an intense hit of sugar, crumble always will hold a very special place in my heart and in my kitchen. It's one of the first things I baked as a little girl. And that first ever crumble was, needless to say, NOT plum. So did I rhu (heehee) substituting the beloved rhubarb for my glut of ripening plums? Was I berry wrong to make the risky decision of not using the traditional filling of blackberry and apple, for the sake of using up all these surplus plums?
Well no, I didn't, actually. Try this recipe out for yourself and you will understand exactly what I mean. I can honestly say that plum crumble is as equally delicious as its more popular counterparts...if not even yummier.
For the crumble...
- 225 g plain flour
- 125 g butter or margarine
- 125 g demerara or granulated sugar, or half of each.
- A little extra demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- about 600 g fresh ripe dessert plums, halved and stoned.
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
- 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar.
- Preheat oven to 180c/160. Grease a deep overnproof dish. Mine is round and about 20 cm in diameter.:)
- Grease the dish and lay the halved plums, cut side up, in a neat, even layer in the bottom of the tin. You might need to lay some of the halves on top of eachother, but that's ok.:) Once you've used up all the plums, sprinkle with the soft brown sugar and the cinnamon.
- To make the crumble, sift the flour into a bowl, stir in the 125 g sugar, and then dice the butter/margarine into small cubes.
- Rub the fat into the flour and sugar. Do this with your fingertips, lightly rubbing the cubes of butter/margarine until you end up with a fine, breadcrumbley mixture. Hold your hands high above the mixture as you do this, keeping your hands about the level of the bowl rim.
- Once the butter is completely rubbed in - there should be no big lumps of fat - sprinkle the crumble mix all over the plums in the dish.
- Sprinkle over the extra demerara sugar.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the crumble is pale golden and the filling is hot.
- It is DIVINE served warm, with custard...mmmmmmm. :)