In these dark slow evenings, I find myself harking back to summery days when I went searching in fields for the juiciest berry. I looked back to my recipes and found that after hedgerow picking, look what you could make…
Sift flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Use half the amount of fat compared to the flour so if its 100g flour, then use 50g butter/lard. Add the fat into the sieved flour and mix with a knife and then by your fingertips. Rub it just enough to become like fine breadcrumbs. If you rub too much, it’ll become too oily and the pastry will be too crumbly when rolled out. Add cold water to the mixture. Flour absorbs water at different amounts depending on all sorts of circumstances; temperature of the air etc. Add the water table spoon by table spoon (make sure it’s cold) and mix with knife again, and then bring together with hands. The pastry should come together and leave the bowl clean. Wrap it in cling and then leave in the fridge for 30 mins – it’ll help to roll it out better. Bring it out of the fridge and allow to warm up slightly by room temperature. Then roll out to size – preferable evenly in quarter turns to give an even roll.
Blind bake pastry by putting greaseproof paper on top of the pastry and adding weight so it doesn’t rise too much. I filled mine with rice as I had some in an old packet in the cupboard. You can buy baking beans fit for the job, and some people even use coins. Bake blind for 15-20 mins until pastry is slightly golden.
Once blind baked, cut up fruit (I’ve used apples, raspberries, rhubarb, and gooseberries) and mix in a bowl with a few teaspoons of sugar. Put the fruit and sugar into the cases and top with crumble mixture.
Mix flour and butter together with fingertips (start off like the shortcrust pastry method) but add a few tablespoons of sugar towards the end (depending on how sweet you like your crumble mix). Easy!
Bake for half hour or so on 180 until the fruit is bubbling up and the crumble golden.
Here's some more crumbles made at my Mum's cottage with just the crumble mixture but the filling was blackberries, plums, and apricots: