Pear & Cobnuts Crumble

Friday, 9 October 2015

Autumn is finally here. Colourful leaves, rainy days and board games evening. I love autumn. It makes me feel a bit melancholic. As soon as I see the leaves starting to to turn and feel the air getting crisper, it fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling and all my childhood memories come flooding back.

Last summer we decided to finally move all our belongings were kept in dusty boxes in my in-laws' home in Spain for years. Yesterday, the van arrived and around 30 boxes were stacked up in my living room.

I started opening them with excitement. I discovered an old music box my dad gave me when I was around 8; all my childhood books that I will now read to my children; some tin toys that I absolutely love; letters, cards and notes from people I can't remember. Everything, my entire life was in these boxes.

And I feel as if I would have been reunited with a part of me that was somewhere else, hidden, somehow lost. Having my things with me makes me feel at home. As if I would be ready to put down roots now.

I want to see my two boys growing up at home. At their home. Our home. To see them become adults, with their own lives, but knowing they have a place to come back. That they have a home. I would like them to know that their bedroom will be their bedroom no matter what happens. I want them to come back and find new batteries in a drawer in that old cabinet we have in the living room, because there is where batteries are, where batteries have always been.

I would like them to feel they have a place where they belong to. Where their childhood memories are still alive. Where the stew always tastes the same and morning smells to coffee and toasts.

And because nothing spells the arrival of autumn like crumble, this week I've prepared one of my favourite ones with spiced pears and seasonal cobnuts, a type of hazelnut usually sold fresh and only available in early autumn.


For the Crumble

225g Plain Flour
90g Caster Sugar
1tsp Powdered Ginger
115g Salted Butter

For the filling

50g Caster Sugar
50g Dark Soft Brown Sugar
100ml Water
4 Ripe pears 
30gr Fresh Grated Ginger
1 Lime
300gr Cobnuts
2tbsp Olive Oil
1 Pinch of Salt

Clotted Cream, Custard or Vanilla Ice Cream


Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

To make the crumble, sift the flour into a bowl and add the caster sugar, brown sugar and powdered ginger. 

Cut the butter into chunks and rub it into the flour mix with your hands until you the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. 

To make the filling, peel, core and cut the pears into chunks.

Boil the water and sugar together, then carefully drop in the pear chunks and simmer gently for 5 minutes. 

Add the grated ginger, the lime zest and juice to the pan and stir. Spoon the mixture into one large oven proof dish. Set aside.

Peel, crack and shell the cobnuts. Place them in a pan on the stove, covering just the bottom of the pan with the nuts. Add the olive oil. Tip: the oil should just coat the nuts and not pool in the bottom of the pan.

Turn the pan on to a medium heat. Sprinkle salt to taste and heat the cobnuts for about two or three minutes. Stir every 30 seconds to prevent the nuts from burning or cooking too long on one side but not the other. Remove from the pan when they start to turn golden brown.

Place the nuts on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Then, add the cobnuts to the pear mixture.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the top of the fruit, piling it high in the middle of the dish and leaving space at the edge for the caramel to bubble up. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the pears are cooked and bubbling and the crumble is golden on top. 

Serve hot with a generous dollop of clotted cream. custard or ice cream.

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