5th August 2010, on the menu today...
Hmmm, puddings or 'proper puds'...another thing we Brits do better than anyone else. With a good dose of steaming hot custard, our puddings become the ultimate in sweet treats that are more than enough to warm the soul on even the coldest of winter days. So now it has come to write my first review of one on TGBD, I cannot think of anywhere better to start than with the iconic Crumble.
Clove collecting...let battle commence! My mother always puts cloves in her apple crumle and, whenever we had apple crumble, it instantly became a silent but fearsome competition between my sister and I to collect as many cloves as possible. As we carefully tucked in to our crumbles we would remove any cloves we encountered and line them up alongside our plates and eagerly watch how many the other person was getting. This resulted in everything from knicking them off mum and dad to fighting over seconds where we could see a clove projecting from the remaining crumble - ahhh, nothing like a bit of sibbling rivalary to make mealtimes more fun.
- Variety is the spice of life. Crumble is made even more wonderful by the fact that you can constantly change the fruit you use. Plum and/or apple are common but you can experiment with many others - the crumble pictured above used gooseberries which have a wonderful sweet yet tangy taste to them.
- Hmmm, crumble topping! A thick crumble topping is essential to a good Crumble in my books...that wonderfully biscuity characteristic it takes on when cooked is much sought after in our household. Moreover, we like to leave the fruit base quite tart so the sweet crumble topping can provide a delightful contrast in flavour.
Orange...a magic ingredient. I cannot remember where we learned about this one but
by adding orange juice and zest to a plum crumble you elevate an already delicious crumble to an almost heavenly position. The zestiness of the orange really cuts through the crumble and provides a further depth of flavour to excite the tastebuds. Trust me, you'll like this one.
- Le Crumble! The other thing I remember about Crumble is its popularity in France. In fact, they liked it so much that a book, entitled 'Crumble', was written on it and the first edition reportedly sold 200,000 copies upon being reprinted in 2005. But they obviously still have a lot to learn about puddings as the book fails to mention custard...deary, deary me.
Ice cream or pouring cream can be used but, to qualify as a 'proper pud', Fruit Crumble needs to be accompanied by generous amounts of custard as pictured below.
Cooking apples and plums are classic crumble ingredients and are often combined. With just apples, cloves can be added to lend their robust, spicy flavours to the usual cocktail of flavours. Likewise, as already said, orange can be added to plum crumble to deliver a wave of zestiness that cuts through the sweeter flavours. Whereas rhubarb and gooseberry crumble - another favourite of mine - deliver sweetness but, quickly afterwards, a wave of tanginess that sets the tastebuds alive. In all cases, the liquidy fruit juices and soft bite of whole fruit combine with a crumble topping that has a sweet crunch on top where sugar has caramelised and a plainer biscuit-like texture beneath. Personally, we like an entirely flour-based crumble topping but alternatives include oats, ground almonds for a richer flavor and granola for a varity of textures.
History (courtesy of the Wikipedia entry):
Crumbles originated in Britain during World War II. Due to strict rationing the ingredients required to make the bases of pies contained too much of the necessary flour, fat and sugar to make the pastry. So a simple mixture of flour, margarine and sugar was used to make the top of the crumble. The dish was also popular due to its simplicity.
Cartmel Village Shop (makers of the best commercial Sticky Toffee Puddings - a food icon here in Cumbria)
Pudding Club (a club devoted to puddings...need I say more!)
Fellow food bloggers:
Jim's Chocolate Mission
It's All About Limited Edition
Let Her Bake Cake
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