My boyfriend and I try to be as healthy as we can to compensate for our “sins” as we like to call them. His are smoking and drinking beer, mine is eating cakes, desserts, chocolate and anything else that is sweet and satisfying. So to pretend we’re a healthy couple we usually buy a couple of nectarines and some blueberries, mix them together in a bowl, and munch on them while we’re watching tv. I like to call it “healthy popcorn”.
But I was getting so fed up with this healthy after-dinner snack. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy it’s summer and I ge to eat all this lovely summer fruit, but eating it over and over again (because my boyfriend gets fixated on a particular and unchangeable fruit combination he likes) can become quite boring. So I had some nectarines and blueberries left over and decided to jazz them up a bit with a crumble topping.
I adore crumbles for many reasons. First of all they are so easy to make, I think it was one of the first puddings I learnt how to make when I was eight or so. I used to pick cooking apples and blackberries in my aunt’s garden in London, and make crumble for an army of people for Sunday lunch. Second, they are so versatile you can use different fruit combinations depending on the season (although my favourite will always be apple, closely followed by rhubarb). Third, there’s just something magical and heavenly about sitting down with a big bowl of crumble and warm custard, or pouring cream, or vanilla ice-cream…I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. I don’t know if it’s the combination of those different elements, or the memories associated to crumble that make me feel like a little girl again, but I genuinely become happy if I eat crumble.
I’m usually quite traditional when it comes to dishes related to my childhood but I also like to experiment in the kitchen, so I was both skeptical and curious to see how this summer crumble would taste like. I must say I was very impressed with the result, so much I want to share with you the recipe for this little summer experiment that will now become a regular summer visitor in my oven. By the way, it makes the most amazing breakfast.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 nectarines, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
100g of blueberries
juice of ¼ lemon
½ tsp vanilla essence
50g butter, cubed
50g brown sugar
30g of hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the nectarine pieces and blueberries to an 18-20cm round deep baking dish. Add the lemon juice and vanilla to the fruit and stir gently to coat evenly. In a separate bowl add the flour, oats and the butter. Rub in the butter until you get a mixture that looks like fine breadcrumbs. Don’t worry if there are some slightly bigger crumbs. Add the sugar and rub a little more until it’s incorporated in the crumbs. Add 20g of the chopped hazelnuts to the mixture and gently mix them in. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden. 10-15 minutes before the end remove the crumble from the oven and quickly scatter the remaining hazelnuts on the top, then continue baking until ready. Enjoy hot or cold, on its own, with some custard, with vanilla ice-cream or some cream.