Just like Mother used to Make

September 29th, 2007

Plum Crumble

As it’s British Food Fortnight I wanted to make something very British for our monthly food event, In the Bag, which this month contains seasonal fruit, and what could be more British than the classic fruit crumble?

Fabulously easy and very adaptable, this wonderul pudding has been rounding off family meals for generations. Sweetened fruit beneath a biscuity, crumbly topping, served hot from the oven with custard or cream is surely one of the most comforting and homely puddings in the world.

Although very appealing in winter, this is an all-year-round pudding which can be made with whatever fruit is in season. A summer crumble made with berries and served with ice cream is sensational. Almost any fruit can be used, either just one type or a combination, and the riper the better. The amount of sugar you sprinkle over the fruit will depend on how sweet it is, and how tart you like it, so it’s best to taste it first and make a judgement.

The crumbly topping is made by simply rubbing flour, sugar and butter together between your fingers. Of course you could use a processor for this, but it comes together quite easily and quickly. This, and preparing the fruit, is the only effort involved in assembling the pudding, and to make life even easier you can make large batches of the topping and freeze it in portions, ready to be used the next time round.

But enough of these technicalities, come now, kick off your stilettos, loosen your tie, and fill your tummies with this sweet, warming pud. You’ll soon forget about the cares of this fast, mad world in which we live.

Plum Crumble

150g plain flour
75g butter
55g sugar, plus 2 or 3 tablespoons for sprinkling over the fruit
Approx. 500g, or 10 plums

1. Cut through the plums lengthways around the middle, then twist each half in opposite directions and pull them apart. Remove the stone then cut each half in half again. Put into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with sugar according to taste.

2. Put the flour, butter and sugar into a bowl and rub together between your fingers until the mixture takes on the texture of biscuit or cake crumbs.

3. Sprinkle the crumbly topping over the fruit, covering it entirely. You can press it down a little if you wish, but not too hard, although I don’t bother with this as I like it looser.

4. Put the dish into the oven at 200c or about 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the top is lightly golden.

Serves 4

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