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gluten-free apple crumble

I don’t know where March has gone. I had lots of big ideas for recipes for this month and I haven’t managed to get any of them on the blog. I’m still tinkering with my bread recipe…and I think I probably always will be until it’s just like the glutenicious variety (!) I’ve been trying to reach the optimal level of psyllium husk so that there’s enough to get a good rise, but yet not so much that it has a clammy texture. I’m also playing around with a butter shortbread recipe and I think my remastered puff pastry sausage roll recipe is ready to be unveiled to the world very soon. But what with three birthdays (my own included), visiting family, a christening, looking after the house, trying to keep up with my toddler’s busy social life and experimenting with some recipes that I need to faff a bit more with, I haven’t managed to blog anything apart from my monthly recipe for LiveGlutenFree:

gluten-free chocolate fondants

Gluten-free chocolate fondants

So here is something I’ve been meaning to try for ages: an improved apple crumble recipe. I’m very partial to an apple crumble, especially if it’s served with lashings of hot custard, but I have been less than impressed with the bog- standard gluten-free variety that uses a like-for-like flour substitution. The finished product is always very powdery and tends to go a bit gluey in the mouth. One way of getting round this is to sub some of the flour/butter/sugar combo for crushed biscuits which I do when I’m making my delicious pear and ginger crumble.

Oats are often added to crumbles to give them a bit of ‘bite’ but, unfortunately, I’m unable to eat even gluten-free oats. Enter rice and buckwheat porridge flakes (available from Sainsbury’s). I think they’re really useful and that they have a not un-oaty flavour. They are, however, very hard and you can’t just substitute them for oats without softening them up first. I usually do this with hot apple juice. I made this last night for my family and it all disappeared. It’s not really the Easterlicious treat I was planning (improved hot cross buns) but it was yummy all the same.

gluten-free apple crumble 2

Serving suggestion: Gluten-free apple crumble with lashings of hot custard

Gluten-free apple crumble with rice and buckwheat flakes

Serves 4 generously

60ml apple juice
120g rice and buckwheat porridge flakes (I used Sainsbury’s)
120g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
2 x 60g butter
2 x 60g light brown soft sugar + 2 tsp
400g apples (I used eating, rather than cooking, apples)

You will also need an approximately 1.3l-capacity ovenproof dish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (my oven is fan-assisted so adjust accordingly).

Heat the apple juice in the microwave on ‘high’ for 1 minute. Combine with the rice and buckwheat flakes in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.

Sift the gluten-free plain flour into a large bowl and rub in 60g of butter until you have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in 60g of light brown soft sugar.

In a small saucepan melt the remaining 60g of butter with the remaining 60g of light brown soft sugar over a low heat. When melted, pour over the rice and buckwheat mixture and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly.

Peel, core and chop the apples into large chunks. Place in the base of the ovenproof dish and scatter 2 teaspoons of light brown soft sugar over them.

Combine the rice and buckwheat mixture with the flour and butter mixture and scatter over the top of the apples. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden and the apples are tender. Serve with cream, ice cream, yoghurt or custard.

gluten free pear and ginger crumble

I usually hate winter…and I hate autumn because of what it foreshadows. I live for the spring and the summer…or, in reality, I live for the springs and summers that I remember from my childhood: when the six-week summer holiday stretched endlessly and the sun seemed to shine every day in a cloudless cornflower blue sky.

But after what has been the most waterlogged and depressing British summer ever, I’ve resolved to take pleasure in both autumn and winter this year, and henceforward. Otherwise, I’m going to spend the rest of my life vacillating between states of wishing my life away and constant disappointment.

So, so far, I’ve enjoyed the farmers’ market starting up again in Cirencester last Saturday (and the gorgeous gluten-free sausages and brownies that we found there!), the fragrance of the damp leaves we went tramping through on our woodland walk on Monday, the sense of comfort emanating from the radiators now that we’ve switched the heating on…and the smells of baking, stewing and casseroling that have been wafting from the oven. We picked the last of the pears from the tree in our garden today – I hope I did them justice!

gluten free pear and ginger crumble

Gluten-free pear and ginger crumble

The ripeness of your uncooked pears will determine the texture of the finished dish. I prefer the cooked pears to be quite firm to the bite so I used fairly unripe ones. If you prefer a softer texture, use ripe pears and cut down on the sugar in the filling.

Serves 4-6

For the crumble:
100g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
50g butter, cubed
25g demerara sugar
100g gluten-free stem ginger biscuits (they’re available in both Sainsbury’s and Asda)

For the filling:
500g prepared pears (peeled, quartered, cored and cut into chunks)
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

You will also need a 2-litre capacity ovenproof dish

Preheat the oven to 180°C (my oven is fan-assisted, so adjust accordingly).

First, make the crumble topping. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub the chunks of butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the demerara sugar. Whizz the stem ginger biscuits in a food processor to a coarse crumb (or put them in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin). Stir into the flour, butter and sugar mixture.

Next, scatter the pear chunks in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the soft brown sugar and cover with the crumble mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with cream, custard or ice cream.

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