I want to start by thanking everyone for all their kind comments and words of encouragement during the past week. All the blogs, recipes, hints and tips you have given me will be enough to keep me busy in the kitchen for a very long time and I’ve got lots of new ideas and ingredients to experiment with.
A couple of nights ago a good friend of mine invited me and a group of our friends round for dinner. We all get together about once a month for an informal dinner and chat which is a great way of keeping up to date with everyone’s latest news. This was going to be the first time I had seen any of them since being diagnosed as coeliac and I was a little unsure how they would take it. The meal had been planned for some time I felt rather bad about having to phone the host up and explain I wouldn’t be able to eat the pasta dish she was planning. However, she was really supportive and didn’t mind in the slightest and quickly changed the menu to a delicious vegetable curry with rice. As a thank you I told her I’d bring a dessert choice.
We had a small pile of cooking apples sitting on the counter from my grandmothers garden as well as some late blackberries so an apple and blackberry themed dessert was the obvious choice. I decided to turn them into a crumble as I felt sure I would be able to make a suitable crumble topping using my new range of gluten free flours. I decided to use primarily buckwheat (my new favourite) as I thought its natural sweetness and nutty flavour would go well with the fruit and a little potato and rice flour for their crumbliness. I also added some ground almonds for flavour and to help mask any strange flavours that I thought the flours might produce – I’m happy to say there were no strange flavours.
I decided to puree the blackberries and use just their juice in the base of the crumble, rather than add the whole berries. I love the flavour and colour blackberries give but I know some people don’t enjoy their seeds so I though this would be a good compromise. I also stewed most of the apple beforehand and then stirred through some raw apple at the end for texture. The blackberry puree bubbled up through the apple during cooking and dyed all the fruit a gorgeous bright shade of purple which made it look so inviting when you broke through the golden crumble topping.
I’m please to say that everyone loved the crumble and said if they hadn’t been told, they wouldn’t have known it was gluten free – hurrah! If you really thought about it there was a slightly sandy texture from the rice flour but when mixed with the fruit this was not noticeable. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I used the rest of the fruit to make another crumble the following day which I enjoyed with my family after Sunday dinner last night.
Gluten Free Apple & Blackberry Buckwheat Crumble
450g cooking apples
150g eating apples
50g caster sugar
Measure out the flours, ground almonds and sugar into a bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the flour and rub it through the flour using the tips of your fingers. Lift the flour up as you rub the butter in, letting it fall back into the bowl. Continue until you have no large lumps of butter left and the mix resembles fine bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the water and squeeze the mix together so you get a few bigger clumps. Set aside for later.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Peel, core and roughly dice the cooking apples. Place into a large pan, cover the base of the pan with 1cm of water and heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the apple is mushy and soft. Peel, core and roughly dice the eating apple and stir through the stewed apple. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place the blackberries into a separate small pan and add enough water to cover the base of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until the berries are beginning to break down and release their juices. Remove from the heat and transfer the blackberries into a sieve set over a small bowl to catch the juices. Crush the blackberries with the back of a spoon, pressing all the juice through the sieve and into the bowl below. Continue until you have only the seeds left behind. Discard these.
Pour the blackberry puree into the base of a pie or pudding dish. Spoon the apple mixture over the top and scatter over the crumble topping.
Bake in the preheated oven (190C) for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden in colour and crisp.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. The blackberry puree should have bubbled up through the apple and stained it all a gorgeous shade of purple.
Serve with custard, cream or ice cream if desired. Also tastes great cold.