Sweet and tangy gingery bite with a nicely balanced crumble.
Crumbles are great served hot as a pudding with runny cream or ice cream, but I reckon they’re even better for breakfast served with a spoonful or two of thick yoghurt.
150g (5 oz) standard flour
120g (good 4 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp soft brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground almonds
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 firm but ripe pears (see Recipe Notes)
2 Granny Smith or tart apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp chopped preserved ginger in syrup
1 Tbsp caster (superfine granulated) sugar or 1 Tbsp ginger syrup (from jar of preserved ginger)
1 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Put 6 ovenproof ramekins in a shallow ovenproof dish or tin in case juices bubble over during cooking.
2 To make the crumble, blend flour and butter together in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Alternatively, cut butter into flour using 2 knives or a pastry blender. Add brown sugar, almonds, lemon zest and cinnamon.
3 Peel pears and apples, cut into quarters, remove cores and slice finely. Gently toss fruit in a bowl with lemon juice, ginger and sugar. Divide fruit between ramekins, pressing it in (it’ll reduce down during cooking).
4 Spoon crumble over fruit, mounding it in the middle of the dishes so a little steam can escape around the sides. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until juices are bubbling through and crumble topping is golden. Serve hottish or at room temperature.
Slice apples thinly to ensure they cook to tender by the time the topping is ready. If the pears are medium-hard, slice as thinly as the apples, but if they are semi-ripe, keep them in chunks.
Don’t cut back on the amount of fat in the crumble; it needs to be there to stop the crumble turning hard.
The fruit collapses and shrinks down in the dish during cooking, so pack the dishes nice and full with fruit, then mound the crumble on top. Resist the temptation to pat down the crumble too much because that will compact it, it stays lighter with a bit of air in it.
Once the crumbles are nicely browned, drape a piece of tin foil over the top to stop the nuts burning.
Pears often throw off liquid during cooking. If there is a lot, pour it off, but if serving the crumbles at room temperature or the following day, it will be absorbed and helps keep everything moist.