Dec 07

Apple, Pear and Black Cherry Crumble






‘Tis the season to be jolly, eh? Well, ’tis also the season for feasting and entertaining. I hosted yet another dinner party on the weekend and I was hard pressed to find a dessert that did not include dairy  (one of my guests had the whole lactose intolerence issue). Normally I would opt for a panna cotta or something that involved custard or cream. Yum! But I do like a challenge and to please everyone at my dinner table I came up with this crumble version. A touch nervous coz this was yet another dessert I have never before attempted to make … but so far I have been incredibly lucky considering many first-time dishes have come out so freakin’ well for me.



This dessert turned out to be easier to put together than I initially thought and it was exactly the right choice for my dinner party; warm & spicey fruit puddings always do the trick on frosty nights, hence I am sharing this with you today. It was super duper cold last weekend; it had been snowing a great deal ever since the preceeding Wednesday … turned everything white and dreamy … by nightfall the thermostat was reading subzero temperatures. The dog however, loved it (of course)!






Doopey and I enjoyed such wonderful long walks in the snow covered park. I have learnt to not be such a wuss and to be a little more “Dutch” … just suck-it-up and head on out to brave the cold. After all, the dog needs his twice daily walk; there’s no getting around that. The up side is that snow makes everything look so nice and pristine. Reminds me of our trip to Switzerland earlier this year ~ some seriously AH – MAAAZING sceneries there. The picture below however, is not Switzerland … rather it is merely the neighbourhood park in which I walk the Doopster. We are indeed fortunate to have just such a park at our very doorstep.






Funny how I have always associated fruit with warmer weather. Must be my tropical upbringing. But now that I have moved to more temperate climes I am beginning to appreciate the seasonal changes along with the fruit that go with it. Come winter I think of cranberries, apples, pears, raisins (okay, so they aren’t exactly a fruit), plums and oranges … all best served in syrup or cooked in spices. Did I hear somebody say ‘Minced Pie’?? Oh goodness, don’t get me started on Christmas pies. I am working my way up to making those myself, so bear with me. Today I shall focus on a less daunting recipe that anyone can do.




Ingredients :

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled and cored
  • 2 cups dark cherries in syrup
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star annise
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup cherry syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 sheets gelatine, pre-bloomed  (*optional)


Topping :

  • 6 Digestive biscuits
  • 200 g flour
  • 80 g white sugar
  • 80 g butter






First, grab your fruit and prep them accordingly. Peel, core and cube the apples and pears. Drain the cherries in a colander to separate the fruit from the syrup ~ set the syrup aside to use later. This recipe serves about six people, but feel free to double or halve the recipe according to your needs.





Then, put a deep pot on the stove and place the sugar, cherry syrup, ground spices, star anise, cinnamon stick, vanilla extract and lemon zest into it. Bring everything to a slow simmer.





Chuck in the apples and pears and give everything a good stir to coat. I am aware that many recipes instruct us to place everything in a dish with the crumble topping and bake … but I find that I like doing it this way instead so I can control the doneness of the fruit. Simmer for 10 – 15 mins and once they are done to your liking simply add the cherries and the pre-bloomed gelatine sheets. I don’t like overly runny syrup in crumble so I add the gelatine to juuuuuust hold everything together a little. The gelatine can be left out if you want … doesn’t make a huge difference. Dish out the fruit filling into a baking dish. Remove the thick lemon peel, star anise and cinnamon stick. You will end up with something like this …





Now turn on the oven to preheat at 190ºC while you make the crumble topping. The topping takes no time at all … simply place everything into a food processor and pulse until little lumps of butter and flour form. Don’t over-do it otherwise it will be too fine. I don’t own a food processor so I just used my hands and rubbed the cold butter into the flour and biscuit mixture. I added digestives to up the crunch factor in the crumble … I think it is a genius idea.  *takes a bow*.



Lightly pack the crumble down over the fruit and place everything into the oven to bake for 20 mins. Be warned : your house will smell heavenly. 🙂 After removing it from the oven leave it to cool before serving. I like my pudding at room temperature (chilled, even) but it’s just as nice served warm with a healthy helping of vanilla custard … I strooooongly suggest you don’t scrimp on the vanilla custard. Mmmmm! With food like this I think anyone can pull through the winter months and pass with flying colours.







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