Fruit crumbles are like that laid-back companion of desserts, flexible and adaptable with various ingredients. Still, according to former River Cafe pastry chef Anna Higham, the real magic lies in the “squidgy layer between the fruit and crumble.” As she prepares to open Quince bakery in London this autumn, she shares her insights into creating the perfect crumble.
Textured Toppings for Delectable Fruit Crumbles
Matt Adlard, author of “Bake it Better,” recommends experimenting with textures in your crumble toppings. Nuts, including roasted hazelnuts or a combination of various varieties, contribute an additional stratum of taste and texture. Melek Erdal takes it a step further by introducing sliced almonds, walnuts, and pistachios into her tahini crumble, along with sesame and nigella seeds, resulting in what she describes as “the finest creations you will ever produce.”
Nadiya Hussain, author of “Nadiya’s Simple Spices,” suggests demerara sugar and ground cinnamon for a crunchy texture. Yotam Ottolenghi, known for his creative culinary approach, combines desiccated coconut, coffee grounds, cacao nibs, macadamia nuts, and Thai palm sugar in his crumble, achieving a cookie dough-like consistency, combining gooey and crisp elements.
Exploring Unique Flours and Flavor Combinations
Anna Higham recommends experimenting with different flours to elevate your crumble game. While traditional flour works well, wholemeal flour pairs wonderfully with rhubarb and ginger, even lemongrass. Buckwheat flour complements pears beautifully. For those considering apple crumble, adding quince brings a floral and multidimensional flavor. Higham’s festive mood might even lead to the inclusion of an alcoholic beverage like brandy or whisky. Nadiya Hussain suggests enhancing the dish with citrus essence and a touch of almond extract.
Elevating Your Fruit Crumble Game
Matt Adlard suggests adding a layer of frangipane at the base of your crumble before adding the fruit and crumble layers. Ground almonds create a delightful marzipan flavor, providing a pleasant surprise. To enhance the crispness of pears, star anise, cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus peel can be poached with them. To top it all off, Adlard uses his roast hazelnut topping for a combination of marzipan, spiced pear, and crunchiness.
With these expert tips, you can elevate your fruit crumble to new heights, creating a delightful dessert that’s perfect for any occasion.