Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ode to my mum's crumble

When I was growing up in rural England, Sundays were all about family and roast lunch. Mum always tells us that she doesn't enjoy cooking, so the fact that she made us a wonderful spread every Sunday really shows that motherly love. It meant a lot to us - we were all away at boarding school during the week, so Sundays were an important family time.

Sitting in the kitchen beforehand was all part of the ritual, along with peeling, shelling, mixing and stirring. It was here that I learned how to make gravy and roast potatoes. I look forward to teaching my kids about food in the coming years - it really is such an underrated life skill.

The menu normally consisted of a roast of some type or another, along with the legendary crumble. I still get pangs for those Sunday lunches at home, they don't happen often with my family who are now spread all over the world. Crumble is such a perfect homemade food - you don't need to make it look pretty, it's hugely versatile (throw any fruit you like under the crumble topping...) and I think it crosses seasons too. Just serve with cream or creme fraiche in the summer, or warmed custard in the winter. 

I was inspired by the new season pears available in Sydney at the moment - they are so naturally sweet, and cheap to boot! I chose to peel them to keep the pears silky smooth under the crumble.


1kg pears (or any fruit you feel like - apples, plums, rhubarb even strawberries)
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
100g demarara sugar (or other brown sugar)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Peel the fruit and lay it in the bottom of a baking dish.
Place the flour, baking powder, butter and demarara sugar in a food processor and whizz until mixed, but before the crumble becomes completely smooth. The lumps of butter within the mixture give it its crumbly texture!
This can also be done by hand - just mix the ingredients between your thumb and forefinger until there are no large lumps left.
Place in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden.

Serves 4

Some other variations to try out:

Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the crumble mixture - works especially well with apples.
Joy the baker inspired me to dabble with a tropical version with strawberries and pineapples - see her blog
Sprinkle a tablespoon of oats over the crumble topping before it goes in the oven.
Try it cold - I love eating it the following day on its own, especially when it's rhubarb!

I have also filled up my freezer with a few individual serves - perfect for those homesick days.


  1. Awe what a lovely ode :) I see why this recipe is special to you. And it looks delicious!
    Heidi xo

  2. thanks for visiting! I'm feeling there will be quite a few crumbles happening in the next few weeks...

  3. This crumble looks so simple and tasty. Amazing for a mom who doesn;t love to cook!

  4. It makes me so sad when people tell me that they don't like crumble. I stubbornly think: "They've been brainwashed by having bad school dinner crumble. They wouldn't say that if they'd had REAL crumble."

  5. Tim's been making rhubard crumble with our home grown from the garden! It's really good. At what point do you freeze? Before cooking or after?

  6. I would freeze it before cooking - that way it will still come out really fresh tasting.
    Rhubarb and cooking apples often need an extra sprinkle of demarara too - they're a bit sour sometimes.
    happy cooking!

  7. Tim says rhubarb needs a LOT of sugar!! Ours is yummy - you know we're not far from the rhubarb triangle, after all!


I love getting comments!