Spiced quince & pineapple oat crumble

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Preparation info

  • For

    8-10

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

Fruit crumbles are a truly great British dessert. In fact, in recent years they are perhaps the only British dish that French foodies have truly taken to with gusto, a previously unspoken loathing of British cuisine being the prevailing opinion of most of our neighbours across the channel. There’s something really comforting about a crumble straight from the oven on a cold day, but equally they can be really delicious eaten cold on a hot day - so long as the crumble part is suitably crunchy. In America, they eat cobbler - I have had many in my time, my preferred one being made with blackberries. Cobblers vary in styles though, from a very crumbly topping through to a pie crust made using buttermilk. And these can also be served hot or cold. The common theme in crumbles seems to be a need to combine tart fruit with the sweet crumbly topping, so apples, rhubarb and gooseberries seem obvious choices. However, in this version, it’s the sweet-sourness of pineapple and poached quince that works its magic.

Ingredients

  • 2 large quince, around 700-800 g in total
  • 250 g white sugar or mild runny honey
  • 6 cardamom, squashed slightly
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 cinnamon or cassia quills
  • 1 medium-sized pineapple
  • 250 g flour
  • 100 g pale demerara sugar
  • tsp fine salt
  • 230 g butter, chilled, cut into 1-cm dice
  • 80 g rolled oats

Method

Peel the quince, cut into quarters and remove the seeds with either a melon bailer or a small knife. Cut the quarters into 2-cm chunks and place in a pot with the white sugar, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon. Pour on enough hot water to cover the quince by 3 cm, put a cartouche on top and bring to the boil, then turn to a rapid simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Top and tail the pineapple and cut the skin off. Cut lengthways into quarters then cut out the core and discard. Cut the flesh into 1-cm dice and stir into the quince, put the cartouche back in place, bring to the boil again, then turn to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Take the cartouche off and cook until the syrup has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

While the fruit is cooking, make the topping. You can rub it all together by hand or use a food processor. Blitz the flour, the demerara sugar and the salt in a food processor for 10 seconds. Keeping the machine running, add 200 g of the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and mix in the oats.

Turn the oven to 180°C. Ladle the cooked fruit out into a 2-3 litre ceramic, or non-reactive, roasting dish or pie tin with half the cooking syrup. There will still be quite a lot of syrup left in the pot but you don’t want all of it in the dish as it will be too soggy - this can be served warmed up in a jug when you serve the crumble.

Scatter the crumble topping over the fruit and gently level it out with a fork, but don’t press it flat. Dot the top with the reserved butter then bake until golden and bubbling - around 40-50 minutes. It makes sense to place the dish on a tray to catch any of the juices that may bubble out as it cooks.

To Serve

Simply scoop it out of the dish, drizzle on some extra syrup and serve with cream, ice cream, custard or whatever takes your fancy.