The combination of warm, slightly tart fruit and crunchy, biscuity crumble is universally loved – and how about those bits where the fruit’s juices have bubbled up around the edges of the topping and gone jammy and toffee-ish? Oh, stop it right now. With a few different crumble recipes up your sleeve, you’ll never be at a loss for a fail-safe, make-ahead dessert at any time of the year – we’ve often used frozen fruit when there’s been nothing else available and it’s been just fine.
Make ahead: Both the fruit filling and the topping can be made ahead and will keep for 3 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Just keep the filling and topping in separate tubs till you are ready to fill your ovenproof dish for baking.
Basic Crumble Topping
Makes 1 x 275 g (93/4 oz) quantity Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time none
75 g (23/4 oz/1/2 cup) self-raising flour
100 g (31/2 oz/1/2 cup lightly packed) light brown sugar
pinch of salt
50 g (13/4 oz) cold salted butter, diced into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
50 g (13/4 oz/1/2 cup) rolled (porridge) oats
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Rub the butter into the mix with your fingertips till the mixture resembles clumpy breadcrumbs. Stir through the rolled oats.
Set aside in a covered container in the fridge.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble
Serves 6 Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting
1 quantity Basic Crumble Topping (above)
45 g (11/2 oz/1/3 cup) slivered almonds, toasted
400 g (14 oz/1 large bunch) rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
100 g (31/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
400 g (14 oz) strawberries, hulled, halved if large
cream or ice cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Combine the basic crumble topping with the almonds and set aside.
Place the rhubarb and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and cook gently over low heat for about 15 minutes till the rhubarb is completely soft. Add the strawberries and bring everything up to heat. Pour your filling into a greased ovenproof dish of about 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) capacity. Scatter the topping over your filling to cover.
Cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes till the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up round the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with cream or ice cream.
Recipes and images from The Dinner Ladies by Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood (Murdoch Books) photography by Ben Dearnley RRP $39.99