Saturday, June 14, 2008

#58 Apricot and Almond Crumble

Other than asparagus, the fruit and veg stall had some lovely ripe apricots, at only a quid for 6. So It thought I had to make use of them. Consulting the book, there’s a crumble and a pie. I couldn’t be bothered making pastry, so I went for the crumble. However, I seem to have a mental block when it comes to making crumbles – they are meant to be the easiest pud in the world to make, but when I do them, they end up as mush, as the floury topping gets soaked into the fruits beneath. However, I trusted Grigson to guide me through the crumble-making process. I also used top tips from my Mum. The exciting thing about this dish is that you use the kernels from the apricot stones – a new one on me. They taste like very aromatic, but bitter, almonds. Crack then with a hammer – it worked for me, and the flavour they give to the crumble is beautiful and I shall always take the trouble to do it in the future.

Start by poring boiling water over 18 apricots. After a couple of minutes peel the apricots and slice them. Put them in a shallow baking dish along with the kernels from the stones, 1 ½ ounces of blanched sliced almonds and 2 or 3 ounces of sugar. I like my fruit tart.

For the topping rub together using your hands or a mixer 3 ounces of flour, 2 ½ ounces sugar, 3 ounces of ground almonds and 4 ½ ounces of chilled butter. Pour the mixture over the apricots and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C, and then for a further 20 at 180 degrees. Make sure the top is browned, but not in any way burned. Don’t serve straight away – a warm crumble is better than a scolding hot one. Softly whipped cream is the best accompaniment to this summery dessert.

TOP TIP: My Mum says that for a good crumble topping, don’t rub in your butter too finely; some small lumps of butter make it richer and crunchier, which is good news as this also mean less work!

#58 Apricot and Almond Crumble: 8.5/10. A lovely sweet topping and tart fruit resulted in a substantial but light and perfumed marzipan wonder. The addition of apricot kernels was the genius touch. Plus the crumble topping wasn’t mush. I now have to conquer my other food nemesis Hollandaise sauce.

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