As winter pulls in, faster than ever with the clocks having gone back and the temperature plummeting considerably, a winter warmer on the dessert front would certainly not go amiss in many student flats across the city. The delights of a self-catered flat, once flatmates have finished their washing up, meant that I was able to try and recreate a recipe my Grandma tried so desperately to impart on my mum – successfully only a handful of times.
I have been living in Edinburgh now for two months. Welcome Week is long behind us, and now I have settled into a comfortable routine of lectures, essay writing and enjoying myself, all within this new environment I now call home. That said, there is certainly something that I miss about home – my real home. Things I did not expect to miss, and of course, things that I took for granted, not realising how good they were until they are gone. This was particularly highlighted this week with our malfunctioning microwave causing drama in the kitchen, meaning we were required to return to using the oven and hobs for some proper homely slap-up meals – how’s that for confounding the ‘incapable student in the kitchen’ stereotype.
One dish we all fancied was a decent pudding. For me especially, the beauty of the one we chose, a classic crumble with an arty twist, came from my mum’s numerous failed attempts to serve up this dessert on family occasions; occasions where my grandma so desperately wished she could just take over. Alternatively, it also reminds me of the pride in her face that one time it all went to plan and she thought herself as nothing less than Mary Berry.
This weekend, with the comforts of home being sorely missed, myself and my flatmates set to baking this classic winter warmer crumble. Crumble is arguably the best winter dessert out there. Between the crispy topping and the hot sugared fruit inside, is there anything else that warms the stomach in quite the same way? Daunting as it may sound to attempt baking a ‘proper’ dessert, when in reality we would consider ourselves the polar opposite of domestic gods and goddesses, the crumble turned out just fine. It seems my grandma’s charisma in the kitchen skipped a generation as the delicious wintry smell caused a stir among everybody in our block. A few knocks on the door later, we had created a winner, enjoyed by all, and requested for the same time next week. Sit back, cosy up and get ready for winter.
Whip this up in no time and the BBC will have to bring back Bake Off for you to showcase such culinary ability.
For the ingredients you will need: 40g butter, 75g self-raising flour, 50g sliced almonds, 50g caster sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of unrefined Demerara sugar, one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 450g of frozen berries (or any other fruit of your choosing).
To begin, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark six). First on the list is the crumble topping, where all you have to do is place the butter, cut into chunks, into a large mixing bowl along with the flour, and rub the mixture together with your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture. Add the sliced almonds to the mixture, swirling in the caster sugar and the cinnamon too. That is it. Part one complete. Easy? I think so.
Now onto part two. It’s time to place your chosen fruit into a round dish of approximately 16cm in diameter, or whatever can be found in the realms of the kitchen cupboards, and stir in the Demerara sugar. Sprinkle on top the crumble mixture that you have just made and press down quite firmly to set it into place. Then place the dish on the centre shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until it is well-browned with a slight crisp on top and looks good enough to eat.
Once the 45 minutes have passed and your crumble is looking perfect it is time to take it out of the oven and dig in. Serve with cream, crème fraiche, vanilla custard or some luxurious ice cream – just to make this homely comfort even more delightful.
Serves two-three, or a hearty portion for one (with a bit to spare.)