Yesterday I was gifted a large punnet of strawberries – Maltese local strawberries, with a heavenly taste that just bursts nectar in your mouth – sweet, sweet nectar from the heart of the Mediterranean ! So, as it is not yet summer, and whilst my marmalade was cooking, I thought to myself “I cannot make more jam”, and I didn’t fancy them the traditional way with cream.
“Something that melts in your mouth and lifts the spirits”, I thought. “Something gentle, yet warm and fulfilling – a strawberry crumble it will be.” The juices that these glorious berries yield when baked, combined with maple syrup, is simply sublime. Serve, of course, with lots of hot custard – or dollop on the cream (in our case soya), and melt in the flavour, as it captivates your taste buds. You simply can’t mix talk with this type of eating – only the sound of “Mmmmm…” emerges. Let’s take these strawberries onto the next level then. Oh, and by the way, I am going to make this pretty simple for you.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
- 1.25kg fresh strawberries (I’m afraid frozen won’t do for this), washed and cut into medium slices (around 3-4 slices per strawberry)
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- ¼ cup of maple syrup
METHOD FOR THE FILLING
You will need a medium sized oven dish – distribute your strawberries evenly over the base, then cover with the sugar, and pour the maple syrup over the top. That’s your filling sorted out. Now let’s make the topping.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CRUMBLE
- 200g unbleached white or wholemeal flour (or mixed works well)
- 25g oats
- 75g vegan margarine (dairy free)
- 75g white sugar
- ¾ tsp almond essence
METHOD FOR THE CRUMBLE
Heat the oven to 180c. Place the oats, flour and sugar in a food processor, and process until crumbs are formed. Now add the margarine and almond essence, and process for a few moments. Tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl, and continue to crumble by hand. Always ensure that you are left with a crumble mix, not a dough – so if it over-thickens, add a little more flour to dry it out.
Add the crumble as evenly as you can on top of your strawberry filling, cover in foil, and place in the oven for 20 minutes (this process helps the filling to cook and yield it’s nectar). Then uncover, and allow to cook for a further 15 minutes until the crumble turns golden in colour. Serve hot with custard, or cream – or both if you wish to over-indulge !!! It also tastes out of this world with vanilla ice-cream in the summer.
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