It is a constant struggle for me to use up the produce and perishable goods in my fridge and counter before they give up the ghost and end up in the compost bin. I loathe to throw anything food related away (ask AJ – it’s the most frustrating thing for him) but that was how I grew up. You just did. Not. Waste. Food. Of course, with this mentality, it’s also a struggle for me to come up with recipes that can use those leftover oddball bits and pieces. What do I do with one rhubarb stalk or that handful of old cherries in the back of the fridge? The wrinkle strawberries are looking a little long in the tooth, and that granny smith apple has been sitting the crisper drawer for way too long. Thankfully a gluten free Spring (almost Summer) Fruit Nutty Crumble is the perfect solution.
What’s wonderful about the fruit crumble in general is that they are infinitely variable depending on what you have in the pantry and the refrigerator. Berries, cherries, apples, pears, even mango or pineapple, anything you happen to have around can be thrown in with a few spices, topped with some sugary goodness and baked for near instant gratification. Because it doesn’t have a crust, nor does it even need to bind together like a cake it’s incredibly forgiving and even the most inexperienced baker can pull it off.
Now you and I both know that I have a slight obsession with cookbooks. I’ve blogged about, I’ve photographed, I’ve tweeted about, heck I’ve even had friends come over and gasp at the sheer volume of volumes of cookbooks that I have. Of course, in my defense my collection probably is nothing compared to others. And though I already have a hundreds of cookbooks, nothing thrills me more than to get a cookbook from a fellow food blogger, especially one as talented at Bea over at La Tartine Gourmande. Her blog is full of beautiful photograph, flowing prose and super approachable recipes, all of which are in the book, and more. But you know that, since you have her book already right? It was Bea’s basic recipe for a rhubarb strawberry apple crisp that was the jumping off point for my spring fruit crumble.
AJ was gone from the apartment when I baking these individual crumble, on a 75 mile training ride. He’s actually in training for the AIDS Lifecycle (please donate for his ride!), which he does every year. When he walked in, the smell of baking bubblying fruit and crispy brown sugared rolled oats had him exclaiming “What smells so good in here?” As you know, I bake a lot and AJ is fairly immune to my baking wiles. But such is the beauty of the simple fruit crumble. The smell alone is worth making these suckers.
In the end, AJ showered up and came into the kitchen to grab a spoonful of the crumble. He nodded appreciatively at each spoonful and then told me that he hoped I made more desserts like this one. I was leaving the next day for a trip and when I returned, I wasn’t surprised to find all the crisps gone, eaten in the short time I was gone. I don’t blame AJ for it. After all, the man is going to be cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than a month. He deserve as much Late Spring (almost Summer) Fruit Nutty Crumble as he wants.
Special thanks goes to Roost Books for providing me a review copy of La Tartine Gourmande, Recipes for an Inspired Life by Béatrice Peltre. Though the book was provided by them, I was not compensated for anything I wrote above and all opinions are my own.
Late Spring (almost Summer) Fruit Nutty Crumble, gluten free
By Irvin Lin
You can use any sort of firmer fruit (I would avoid all citrus though, as the filling would be too juicy) in this crumble. It’s a wonderful way to use odd ball fruit that is laying around the house, the sort of fruit in the back of the fridge that is one day away from being tossed. This crumble is made gluten free with both glutinous rice flour (sometimes called sweet rice flour, don’t worry it’s gluten free) and coconut flour (which lends great flavor and sucks up some of the juices from the fruit, keeping it from getting too soupy). Be sure to get certified gluten free oats if that is a concern of yours. If you don’t have gluten issues and don’t have those crazy flours around the house, feel free to substitute in 95 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose for those two flours. I also used a vanilla bean in this crumble, which perfumes the crumble with the most incredible vanilla scent. If you don’t have vanilla beans in the house (I know, they are crazy expensive) just use two teaspoons of vanilla extract in it’s place.
You can get all fancy and serve this crumble with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, dollop of plain yogurt or some crème fraiche. That said, I’m pretty happy just eating it by itself. As was AJ.
1 medium rhubarb stalk (about 130 g or 4 1/2 oz)
1 medium granny smith apple (about 200 g or 7 oz)
2 cups of strawberries (about 250 g or 9 oz)
1 cup cherries (about 150 g or 5 1/2 oz)
1 Clementine or Tangerine (about 60 g or 2 oz)
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 vanilla bean
55 g (1/2 cup) glutinous rice flour (sometimes called sweet rice flour)
40 g (1/3 cup) coconut flour
40 g (1/3 cup) almond meal (or flour)
40 g (1/3 cup) rolled oats (certified gluten free if that is a concern)
40 g (1/3 cup) chopped hazelnuts
30 g (1/4 cup) shelled pistachio nuts
55 g1/4 cup turbinado sugar (sometimes called sugar in the raw)
50 g (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 tablespoons butter for greasing ramekins
6 eight ounce ramekins
rimmed baking sheet
1. Prep the fruit by chopping the rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks, peeling, coring and dicing the apple into 1/2 inch chunks, destemming, hulling and quartering the strawberries and pitting the cherries and adding them all together in a medium sized nonreactive (glass or ceramic) mixing bowl. Zest the Clementine and add it, along with the juice from the Clementine to the fruit. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the fruit. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the bowl. Cut the empty pod in half and toss the pod into the bowl as well. Toss the fruit together, cover with plastic wrap and macerate (a fancy word for just putting it aside) for 30 minutes at room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (176˚C or Gas Mark 4). Grease six 8-ounce ramekins with the butter and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Make the crumble by placing the flours, almond meal, oats, nuts, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch chunks and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, smash and blend the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal. Refrigerate until the fruit has completely macerated.
3. Once the fruit is ready, remove the vanilla bean pods and divide the fruit (and accumulated juices) into the ramekins and then top each ramekin with the crumble topping. Pack the crumble down as much as you can, as the fruit will soften as it bakes. You may have a little crumble left, but try to pack in as much as you can into the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling up and the crumble topping has turned golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
Serves 6 people. Or one really hungry boyfriend.