Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The humble crumble

It always amazes just how simple things need to be in order to inspire a bit of positive thinking. Last night was yet another odd one. A collection of some very intelligent people coming together and brainstorming ideas of how to raise much needed cash in today's climate to make better lives for those who need the help more than others. Meanwhile those very people in need were being simply guided to prepare and serve the nourishment required to fuel those thought processes. 

The star of the show last night? Other than one of the young lads who has had a life more dreadful than we can comprehend but somehow manages to exude the willingness of a fresh and innocent kitchen recruit? Easy, it was the simple crumble.  Everyone loved it, we loved cooking it, the boys and girls loved being it. Don't change this recipe one single bit, apart from if you're doing this for the kids, replace the liqueur with some orange blossom water if you'd like to.

Fig and orange crumble

Serves 6

Butter for greasing
2 oranges
About 12 ripe figs
2 tblsp soft brown sugar
2 tblsp Grand Marnier
Vanilla ice cream to serve

For the crumble
175g plain flour
Pinch of fine sea salt
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
75g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
50g porridge oats
50g nibbed almonds or crushed hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 190C/Gas 5. Lightly grease a deep baking dish and set aside. Cut the top and base off the oranges. Stand the cut side of an orange on a board and cut away all the peel and pith, then cut out the orange segments from their membranes. Do this over a bowl so you keep the juice. Drop the segments into the bowl, then repeat with the other orange.

Cut the figs into quarters. Place them in the bowl with the oranges and gently toss with the sugar and Grand Marnier. Spread the fruit evenly over the prepared baking dish and set aside.

To make the crumble, put the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and blend until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Alternatively, rub the flour, salt and butter in a bowl between your fingertips. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugar, ginger, oats and nuts. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the figs and oranges.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit soft. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice-cream or maybe a ginger lemongrass infused custard if you really want to show off your smarty pants.