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Sweet and Savory Crumbles

December 15, 2010 matkonation No Comments

By: Danya Weiner

A few weeks ago I met a woman who cooks according to the Chinese doctrine and she told me that in China there are five seasons. The fifth season is the late summer. I think that’s what we’ve been experiencing here for the last few months. This past weekend I felt that finally, all signs of summer disappeared. Even now that the rain has ceased, its actually cold enough to wear the sweaters that thought they really weren’t going to get any use this year.  So after posting a soup recipe last week, this week I decided to share a winter dessert recipe.

It amazes me that you can take a well-known cooking technique and tweak it just a bit to make it something totally different.

A sweet crumble is a classic winter dish, and I love the contrasting characteristics of the dish- sweet and tart, hot out of the oven, served with cold ice cream. You can make a sweet crumble out of almost any type of fruit. In the winter try apples, pears, strawberries, rhubard, or a combination. In the summer try plums, peaches, nectarines, or berries. A crumble is a dessert fit for those who prefer cooking over baking- it is not an exact science like most desserts, and you can use your culinary intuition to get you through this classic recipe.

A savory crumble is ingenious. This recipe is based on a similar recipe taken from Michal Waxman’s “Family Meals” (currently published only in Hebrew). When I photographed the book, I feel in love with the idea, which is so simple, that I thought to myself, “how didn’t I think about this?”

Beware- this is not a light dish, and definitely not low-cal, but it is one that is hard not to eat.

Savory Tomato Crumble

It’s important to use juicy, ripe tomatoes for this recipe, because they give the recipe the liquid it needs.

Ingredients for 6 servings (One 9-inch round baking pan or 6 mini tart pans):

For the crumbs:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1¾ sticks (7 oz.) butter, cold and cut into cubes

For the tomato filling:

1½ pounds ripe cherry tomatoes

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons soft goat cheese

Preparation:

1.       Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.       Place all of the crumb ingredients, except the butter, in a food processor. Pulse several times until ingredients are mixed. Add the butter and continue pulsing until large crumbs form.

3.       Place the whole tomatoes in one layer on the bottom of the baking pan.

4.       Evenly sprinkle the salt, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese over the tomatoes.

5.       Evenly spread the crumbs over the tomato mixture.

6.       Bake for 40 minutes, until crumbs are golden. Serve warm, as is, or with a side of sour cream.

Sweet Apple Crumble

Ingredients for 6 servings (One 9-inch round baking pan or 6 mini tart pans):

For the crumbs:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons rolled oats

½ cup brown sugar

1¼ sticks (5 oz.) butter, cold and cut into cubes

For the apple filling:

8 green apples, cut into eights (Granny Smith work great with this recipe)

1 cup red currants (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preparation:

1.       Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.       Place all of the crumb ingredients, except the butter, in a food processor. Pulse several times until ingredients are mixed. Add the butter and continue pulsing until large crumbs form.

3.       In a large bowl, mix all of the apple filling ingredients together.

4.       Place filling mixture into baking pan filling it ¾ full.

5.       Evenly spread the prepared crumbs over the apple mixture.

6.       Bake for 40 minutes, until crumbs are golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice creams or whipped cream.

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