Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Apple Blackberry Crumble ( Gluten-Free)

I am a big fan of fruits crumbles. I find it a good way to use old apples and to mix them with whatever fruits I have on hand to make an easy relatively-healthy dessert. Crumbles, a British dessert, started being à la mode in France in the 1980s. All of sudden everybody was making crumbles... and true, there was a time when the only dessert I could offer to make was  un crumble! Interestingly enough, I have never made a savory crumble. It has been on my A Faire list for the last few months but somehow, I'd rather bake a quiche or a savory pound cake than a savory crumble. I'll have to find out whether I like them or not.
In my desire to diversify our diet even more, I have started to bake gluten-free a few months ago. It's a challenge and a new discovery every time I mix new flours together. It's a new taste-bud experience to bite into a new dough or crumb.... and accept the fact that it's different from the same dish made with wheat flour. But different does not mean pas bon. Au contraire! In a way, you have to stop comparing wheat-based dishes and gluten-free dishes. It comes back to my post on culinary expectations. If you expect a gluten-free dessert to taste the same as its wheat-based cousin, then you are already starting from a biased angle. Forget about the wheat-based version. Just appreciate the gluten-free dish as a new thing in town. It's hard. Je sais! So hard that I have stopped telling my husband what I used to bake/cook before he takes his first bite and tells me whether he likes it or not. Otherwise, I know that he is not going to appreciate it for what it is; he is going to compare to what he has been used to eating for the last 39 years, ie wheat-based plats et desserts. Same thing with dairy free beverages such as almond milk, rice milk or soy milk. So, I keep it quiet; if my elder child helped me prep the dish (and hence knows what's in it), I tell her to keep it as a secret. She loves it!

Having baked a lot of crumbles, I can tell you that this one is vraiment très bon. The crumble is light, yet very flavorful. A mix I will use in other versions of sweet crumbles in the future. Assurément! So, if you have not done so already, stock on gluten-free flours. The ones I have mostly used so far are brown rice flour, millet, chickpea, buckwheat and quinoa flours. Stay tuned for additional savory and sweet gluten-free recipes. Based on my crumbles experience, it's worth it! Bon Appétit!
(adapted from Cannelle et Vanille)

For the crumble:
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) butter at room temperature
- 50 gr ( 1.75 oz) light brown cane sugar
- 50 gr ( 1.75 oz) Muscovado (or raw dark brown cane sugar)
- 15 ml (1 Tb) Vanilla extract
- 100 gr ( 3.5 oz) rice flour
- 120 gr (4.25oz) almond meal
- 80 gr (2.8 oz) raw almonds, crushed

For the filling:
- 6 apples, cut into small pieces
- 200 gr (7oz) frozen or fresh blackberries
- 50 gr (1.75oz) sugar
- 10 gr (0.35oz) butter
- 1 Tb of almond meal

  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175C)
  • Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  • Add rice flour, almond flour and vanilla extract. Stir well
  • Add raw almonds
  • Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 30 minutes

  • In a pan, melt butter and pre-cook the apples in sugar
  • Add blackberries and almond meal and stir gently so as not to crush the blackberries
  • Divide among 6 ramequins
  • Cover with crumble
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with/without Vanilla icecream

My Personal Comments:
  • If you don't find almond meal, you can crush raw almonds in a food processor.
  • Muscovado is an unrefined dark brown cane sugar that does not contain any molasses. While more expensive than regular brown sugar, it is very flavorful. We use it a lot to flavor plain yogurt at home.

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