Raspberry, Pear and Apple Slow Carb Crumble

This is in praise to things that are slow. Slow carbohydrates- sure. Lazy afternoons pottering by the stove- absolutely (nb, if that’s what you’re most interested in- and a nifty and sustaining refined sugar free crumble, then click straight for the bottom).

If you’ve got time on your side for a little natter, pull up a chair.

It’s curious that for someone who outwardly resents change as much as I do, that I’m in such a hurry.

It’s the perils of multitasking. ‘What’s next?’ is always tumbling and tripping through my head. It’s dandy when it’s the little things; letting a crumble topping nap in the fridge for 30 minutes so it perks up in the oven while you gently stew the fruits (do try it- like resting pastry, the difference is pronounced), or laying out a small fry’s pyjamas and bottle before you put them in the bath, so they don’t lap the living room naked and dripping, then relieve themselves on the carpet for a lark.

But when it comes to the big things this habit of forward volition means you don’t stop and appreciate it all. You don’t page the books you’ve written, you’re just anxiously tripping forward and grasping for the next. You don’t enjoy the way the sun snakes into your default reading room- that awkward space in the corner of the house- you’re already planning on ripping it down and plotting a new kitchen island. You don’t snuggle into winter, you’re already pining for spring.

Add some female hormones into the mix and it’s a corker of a cocktail. You finally have a child who almost slumbers like he should and instead of sleeping in, the small estrogen hamster inside starts to scratch inside  – ‘more???’ Oh god. How, who, is this inside my heart that makes me think we are ready to go again?

 It took a honking cold, the end of a few big projects and the wisdom of a toddler to make me say stop for a second.

There isn’t an excess of sensical words which come out of the bundle of cheeks and fists which is my child, but one which is crystal clear is ‘more’ (it’s usually accompanied by an outstretched palm, face up in a one handed clap). ‘More’ applies to everything. More time at the park. More raspberries. More shoes. More socks (he has a foot thing). More jumping. More catch. More crumble.

So most of the time we do. More. Hungry for new and novel, I feed that and on that.

Yet, sometimes we have to say ‘no more’.  Because what we have it perfectly sufficient. Where we are, right now, is just fine.  One child. A season of winter, so spring really gets a chance to shine. A few months of quiet dark afternoons with music and puzzles and pudding. Then maybe some small changes, bit by bit. But we don’t need to reinvent everything, all at once.

So let’s say a little hurrah for what we have. Because right now, it’s golden. Can someone please remind me of this sometime soon?

(Nb, I completely reserve the right to change my mind on any or all of the above, at any point).

Raspberry, Pear and Apple Crumble

Take this crumble as a template; swap the fruits to whatever takes your fancy.  It’s a variation on one of my favourite recipes from ‘Cut the Carbs’; the blackberry, apple and rhubarb crumble. There’s a delightful chewy rubble to the topping, care of the smashed banana which lends it sweetness and heft. Here I’ve made it without any additional sugar at all, but if you were using particularly tart apples, or felt like you need a little more indulgence feel free to add 40g of dark muscavado sugar into the crumble, or a few blitzed dates. This is a terrific exercise to get small people involved in. It’s a simple process of weighing out the ingredients and then mashing and rubbing it together with your fingertips, which is messily tactile, but not overwhelmingly so.  It might be worth making double of the crumble and stashing some in the freezer for a day which screams for pudding, when time is not on your side.

This is the kind of dessert which I like to serve with either custard or ice cream- though I have been known to eat left overs for breakfast with greek yoghurt.

Serves 4-6


100 g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed plus 30 g for the fruit
90 g rolled oats (or rolled quinoa_
50 g ground flaxseed/linseed
75 g flaked almonds
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 red apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
125 g raspberries (fresh, or frozen)

Greek yoghurt, creme fraiche, double cream, ice cream, or custard to serve.

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.

2) To make the crumble topping, put 100g g butter, oats, flaxseed, almonds, banana, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl. Use your fingers to mash everything together into a rustic tumble. It should be rough and lumpy. Place in the fridge until it is ready to bake.

 3) Put the apples and pears in a pan with 30 g butter and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the fruit has begun to soften.

 4) Take a large, shallow baking dish and grease it with a little butter. Transfer the softened fruit to the dish and dot the top with the berries.

5) Scatter the crumble over the fruit, ensuring there are lots of craggy edges.  Either bake now, or set aside until you plan on eating.

6) Bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is bronzed and crisp. Serve hot with greek yoghurt, cream fraiche, double cream, custard or ice cream. Or enjoy cold, for breakfast.


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{ 1 Comment }
  1. I’m not the right person to ask to stop these thoughts as I am a mother of two and just coming out of the tunnel (which I loved by the way) into the light again. However, enjoy a few months of quiet and contentment but keep in mind number two sometimes takes longer than the first one…

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