raspberry, pear + almond crumble {gluten-free}

raspberry, pear + almond crumble {gluten-free}

Growing up, we lived in a house on the hill overlooking the little sleepy town of Raglan, NZ. In winter there were days when the fog barely lifted it's thick blanket and our house remained shaded by the huge pine trees growing at the top of the hill. On those days the ice was set so thick on the windscreen of our old Toyota ute that mum would have to come out with a jug full of water to pour over as we sat in there waiting, all ready to go to school.
If we were lucky coming home in the afternoon we'd be greeted by the smell of food wafting out the door and along the path. Often it was freshly cooked pikelets that us kids then smeared with butter and drizzled with golden syrup or sometimes it was a bowlful of mamas vegetable soup, that had no doubt been bubbling away on the stove since lunchtime. 

raspberry, pear + almond crumble {gluten-free}

For dinner during the cooler months we'd feast on lentil spaghetti, mushroom stew and kumara + carrot loaf and ever so occasionally mum would go the whole-hog and make one of her killer crumbles to top it all off for dessert. It is all of these things that I think back to when I feel like eating some good old comfort food and while it is true nowadays more often than not I'll make a curry to warm myself up on a cool winters day, it will always be the food of my youth and the memories they bring, that conveys comfort to me more than anything else. 

Back then we didn't own an oven, instead mum used to keep our old coal-range stoked up at all times and this was used to cook almost everything she made. From distant memory I think we also had an electric stove-top at that stage, but the electric oven didn't come until much later on and that microwave oven that came into vogue in the 80's? Well, that has never found a place in any of our kitchens. 

Bread and crumbles were baked in the coal-range, custard was made on it, clothes were hung up to dry over the rails and hot water was heated via the wetback. In the 80's crumbles were simple. Stewed apple and rhubarb or apple and feijoa (my favourite) if you're lucky, topped with a crumble made of rolled oats, butter, flour and honey. Here I've used brown rice flour and a combination of almond meal (ground almonds) and sliced almonds in place of the more common oats and flour to make a beautiful crisp gluten-free crumble. Autumn comfort food at it's best.

This post was originally seen over on Kidspot.com.au where I am posting over the next few weeks as one of their Top 5 Food and Wellbeing blog Voices of 2013.

raspberry, pear + almond crumble {gluten-free}

raspberry, pear + almond crumble 
You can use whatever fruit you like for this crumble, just make sure you stew it lightly first. If using frozen berries I recommend you try and buy locally grown or organic ones if possible, as nasties have been found on many of the cheaper imported frozen berries you find at the supermarket. If you don't want to use berries, some thinly sliced plums would also work great if they are still in season where you live, or if you happen to live in NZ make the most of those beautiful feijoas while they are still around and enjoy some for me! I don't tend to sweeten my fruit at all and find the crumble topping more than enough sweetness for me, however if you like you can add a touch of honey or sugar to the fruit as it cooks if preferred. 
serves 4-6

3 large pears (approx. 850g), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons water
1 cup (125g) raspberries (I used organic frozen ones)

1/2 cup (55g) almond meal (ground almonds)
1/2 cup (70g) fine brown rice flour
60g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup (65g) panela (rapadura) sugar, or use soft brown
2/3 cup (50g) sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Place sliced pear, zest and water into a medium saucepan, bring up to the boil, reduce and simmer 10-12 minutes or until pear is just tender. Stir at least 1-2 times during cooking to ensure the top pieces are getting some heat too. Remove from the heat, transfer pear and their juices to a 2 litre capacity oven-proof dish. Scatter over raspberries.

Combine ground almonds and brown rice flour in a bowl, rub in butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs and mix in sugar and almonds. Scatter over the top of the fruit and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the fruit bubbling up.

Serve warm with natural plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

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  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef ™
    June 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This does sound nice and homey indeed! We grew up with plain apple crumble with an oat topping. Our desserts were generally tinned fruit, and a crumble was a rare treat. I think I need to whip one up for my family now 🙂

  • Reply
    london bakes
    June 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Lovely Emma! I don't think you can beat a crumble and I'll happily eat one at any time of the year. Love the almond topping too.

  • Reply
    gfe--gluten free easily
    June 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

    That looks and sounds amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe with the alternative ingredient ideas, too. 🙂


  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

    oooh yum. Pear, raspberry and almond sounds like a fabulous combination. I didn't like fruit growing up so missed out on all my Mum's crumbles! Blackberry and apple was the most popular in our family.

    • Reply
      June 12, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Blackberry and apple is one of my favourites too 🙂

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    It's supposed to be summer here in London but the weather is so awful that I'd happily eat a crumble. In fact I'd happily eat this crumble any time, it looks fab.

  • Reply
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    June 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    This post reminds me of cold winter days (and nights) when we lived in New Zealand. I love a crumble for dessert. It screams comfort food in winter to me.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    i think the use of almond meal and actual almonds in lieu of oats is so genius.

    • Reply
      June 12, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Irina @ wandercrush
    June 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Such a gorgeous bowl of goodness. And crumble is such a universal crowd-pleaser! Perfect for potlucks.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Thank you for a lovely story about memory, time and place. It was fascinating to hear about your old coal stove. And the very first photo was stunning.

    While it's spring on the northern hemisphere, this combination sounds positively lovely. Pears are my favorite. I'll have to try it out come fall on the flip side. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      June 12, 2013 at 3:13 am

      Yes I sometimes forget that we used to have that old coal range when we we little, it was nice to pull those memories back out 🙂

  • Reply
    June 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Been making Blu-barb crisps+pies on this side of the world. i will have to try this gf topping at the restaurant!gorgeus as always:)

  • Reply
    Claudia ~ Food with a View
    June 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Wonderful crumble! Never tried almond meal – I guess I should. The story you are telling reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen – I loved that place a lot.

  • Reply
    TITLE Boxing Club Olathe
    June 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    wow that crumble looks delicious and healthy. Love fruit mixed into it. The combination of raspberry and pear sounds awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Colette Just for Foodies
    June 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    That looks like
    that I could find

  • Reply
    Mairi @ Toast
    June 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Yum…love a crumble…though I still haven't come to love feijoas!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2013 at 5:50 am

    oh yum! I will definitely try this one!
    We just moved back to Hamilton from Australia and its def got that all day fog/mist thing happening. Can't believe how COLD we are! lol.

  • Reply
    emily mowbray-marks
    March 31, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Yum. I'm thinking of using dad's matangi apples and doing baking with the kindy kids tomorrow. Kindy is NUT FREE though.

    • Reply
      March 31, 2015 at 1:19 am

      If oats aren't a problem for you, just use them in place of the ground almonds and omit the sliced almonds.

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