Jane Austen once said that “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness” and in this time of unease, I found comfort in the prospect of a pie.
We’re all finding our little ways to cope with this new normal. Some of us are devouring every piece of COVID-19 related news and waking up in the middle of the night after COVID related dreams – Surely this just isn’t me? Others are embarking on noble charity-related pursuits and trying to make the world a little better, some of us have rediscovered every forgotten show on Netflix in a bid to escape the trauma, and some of us have not worn pants for seven days and don’t know what day of the week it is. Whatever you’re doing, it’s okay. It seems during this uncertain time I’ve rediscovered my love for baking, and as such, I wanted to share this little recipe. The world is scary, and things are falling apart, but there are also small moments of joy to be had despite it all. So here is something a little sweet. Maybe you can make it for someone you love. And if you’re self-isolating alone, perhaps that someone is you.
So here it goes…
It was noon during day two of lockdown, and a sudden burst of inspiration to enter the kitchen hit me. I say that as though the past week hasn’t consisted of many inspirational visits to the kitchen. It most certainly has. Previous visits, however, were conducted with the sole purpose of opening the rusk tin and leaving with as many biscuits as my little hands could carry. This inspiration was different: I wanted to create something.
Having recently discovered a local business called Oddbox – who deliver weekly fresh produce of odd and random varieties to your door- I happened to find two lonely nectarines in my fridge. Let’s call them Neville and Veronica. After looking at them for a while and wondering what to do with them a burst of inspiration hit. A delicious nectarine crumble they would make. Now apple crumble is usually my favourite dessert and I had never tried its distant cousin prior to this experiment – but if not during lockdown – when endless days turn into countless nights – then when.
Why I love this recipe: It’s super easy to make, requires no strict measurements (intuitive cooking for the win), and might add just a little bit of sweetness to your day. For two people – or one person who plans to eat two portions – like I totally would if not for my Gran being my lockdown roomie – you will need:
Optional: ABBA’s Greatest Hits on Spotify
For the filling:
- 2 x nectarines (or apples, or peaches, or pears. Any fruit from the order of the ‘Rosales’ will do. No, I did not know that term before writing this, and yes, it sounds very medieval. Royal even. THIS IS A ROYAL PUDDING FIT FOR A QUEEN. YOU ARE A KWEEN OKAY.
- 1 x cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- A teaspoon or two of vanilla extract or essence
- 1 cup of water
For the crumble:
- Flour: 4 – 6 tablespoons, depending on how much crumble you want. I say the crumblier, the better.
- Butter: As much as you can spare, so your crumble gets all crumbly. At least a quarter of a slab, but even more if you love yourself some crumble as I do.
- 2 tablespoons of oats
- 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Chop up your chosen fruit and pop it in a pot with a cup of water. Bring it to a gentle simmer and add in the cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, sugar, vanilla extract or essence, and sugar. Let it cook for about 10 minutes until the mix is slightly syrupy. This process will give the fruit a tart flavour and create a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
- While the fruit mix is cooking, it’s time to get your crumble on. I feel that Dancing Queen is the perfect tune for this moment, but if you’re feeling more dramatic, Super Trouper works too.
- Mix the flour with butter with your WASHED HANDS – This is always essential when cooking, but it feels even more applicable at this moment in time. Rub the flour and butter mixture until it begins to develop a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add in the oats and sugar for some extra texture and flavour.
- Once your fruit has cooked, pop it in a ramekin and place the crumble mixture on top. Pop it in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 200 degrees celsius or until it’s golden brown.
- Garnish with a rosemary sprig for extra-pompous points and for an exciting flavour combination. Something about the rosemary and nectarine worked wonderfully, and next time I’ll add the rosemary sprig into the fruity, syrupy mix in the pan.
- Enjoy, feed it to your Gran-Gran, and take some cute pics for the Gram-Gram!