APRICOT, PEACH AND BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE
by Diana Henry
This is the quintessential British, never-fails-to-please dessert. It's also sensible, by which I mean that it isn't expensive and it is a great vehicle for celebrating gluts of fruit. The only thing to remember is that your fruit must cook to tenderness in the time it takes the crumble to become golden. So, when your fruit is particularly unripe, it's a good idea to cook it slightly in advance.
• 1 1/3 lb apricots, quartered and pitted
• 3 peaches, pitted and sliced
• 1 lb blackberries
• finely grated zest of 1/2 and juice of 1 lemon
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup almonds, ground
• 3/4 cup butter, chopped
• 6 tbsp flaked almonds
• creme fraiche or whipped cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the fruit and lemon juice and zest into an ovenproof dish and stir in 3 tbsp of the sugar. To make the crumble, mix the flour, remaining sugar, and the ground almonds together and rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture turns crumbly.
2. Put the crumble on top of the fruit, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, and bake for 40 minutes. The top of the crumble should be golden and the fruit tender (insert a small, sharp knife to test for this). If your fruit is still a bit hard but your crumble is already golden, cover the top with some foil to keep it from getting too dark and bake a little longer.
3. Leave to cool a little and serve with creme fraiche or whipped cream.
• Other fruits: You can fall back on good old cooking apples to extend a meager amount of expensive fruit-raspberry and apple is lovely at the end of the summer, for example-then there is plum or greengage and almond, pear or apple and , rhubarb (rhubarb crumbles are good with chopped preserved ginger or grated orange rind) and pear and cherry.
• Other toppings: The nuts and sugars can be changed too. Brown sugars are lovely in autumn (a little molasses sugar—available online— makes a particularly fudgy, dark crumble), and honey or maple syrup can replace some of the sugar in the fruit. Nuts can be quite chunky. You can also replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole- wheat, or bread crumbs, in autumn and winter.
• Dried fruits: Dried apples, cranberries, sour cherries, and apricots (soaked and drained) are all good when mixed with fresh apples and pears.