Dessert – Pear, Lime and Ginger Crumble
Too often we over-sweeten the fruit and cook down to a messy pulp that makes our eyelids flutter with the sugar rush. We make the crumble too chewy or floury or blood clottingly rich. We dump a sea of thickened custard over the lot and wonder why it is we sink into a food coma so soon afterwards.
Instead of a more is more approach, try this: Take a traditional recipe and mix it up a bit. Lighten it with citrus rather than sugar. Put zing onto your palate with hot spices rather than tongue-numbing cinnamon. Deconstruct it and scatter the crumble lightly through the fruit rather than slapping it on top. Accompany it with a side of sharp cheese rather than custard.
4 large firm pears; 2 tbsp sugar; 40g butter; zest and juice of one lime; 2 tsp ground ginger, or to taste
Crumble: 1 cup self-raising flour; 90g butter, softened; 2 tbsp sugar; ½ cup rolled oats; ¼ cup flaked almonds
Crumble: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
Place the flour, sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 10 to 20 seconds only. The butter should still be in clumps, the flour only just starting to coat everything else. Add the oats and pulse briefly – say up to the count of ten – then add the almonds and stir them through the crumble mixture with a spoon.
Tip the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. Stir it briefly and bake for a further five minutes until the almonds are golden and the crumble has started to crisp up. While the crumble is baking, start on your pears.
Stewed Pears: Peel the pears and quarter them, removing the stalks and seeds. Slice the pear quarters into 5mm slices.
Heat a medium saucepan over low to medium heat and add sugar and butter. Melt it until the sugar dissolves and the butter is bubbling then add the pears and lime zest. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir the pears from time to time coating them well in the butter.
When the pears collapse and start to turn golden in the syrup, add half the ground ginger and half the lime juice. Check for taste before adding any more. Remove from heat.
To serve, spoon the stewed pears onto plates and scatter the warm crumble over the fruit. Serve with a small spoonful of blue cheese or parmesan crumbled over the top if you really want to elevate this to dinner party status.
$6.10 for four people