Growing up, crumble was a fixture in my household. Crumble, cobbler, buckle. All variations on an incredibly delicious theme. Sweetened, cooked fruit tenderly tucked beneath some sort of crunchy, buttery topping. Whether more akin to a biscuit or an oaty granola, I never complained. I was just happy to scrape off the top, leaving the soft, sticky fruit for some other poor soul to gobble up. Not that they were complaining either, to be honest.
At about the age of 13, crumble took up a new, and rather hilarious, place in my mind. Thanks to hundreds of screenings of The Mighty Boosh's skit 'Old Gregg' in rapid succession, I could recite his lines, hand over heart, as confidently and proudly as I saluted my great nation every morning in Homeroom. Gregg was as preoccupied with tasty treats as he was with love games and winning the affection of visitors who came to his lair.
He discussed the merits of Bailey's Irish cream sipped daintily from a shoe and displayed a range to rival Rembrandt's with his paintings of Bailey's. But, his most delicious reference was to the crumble he made in Home Economics, for which he received an A+. I mean, his teacher said his was the best one, for god's sake!
So, if you are looking to win someone over or simply want a vehicle for the season's best and brightest (these peaches were phenomenal, by the way), then please take Old Gregg's advice, and make this crumble.
Peach and Almond Crumble
Makes one large crumble, or three smaller ones
7 peaches, pitted and diced
2/3 cup caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 375. Butter large baking dish, or line loaf pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss peaches with sugar, zest and juice of the lemon, cornstarch, almond extract, and spices. Set aside so peaches can macerate. In another large bowl, whisk together oat flour, rolled oats, almonds, brown sugar, coconut, and salt. Scatter cubed butter over dry ingredients, and, using a snapping motion, cut butter into dry ingredients until a shaggy dough forms, with no chunks of butter bigger than a pea. Distribute peach mixture between baking tins. Scatter oat mixture evenly over the top of the peaches. If using a large baking tin, bake for 50 minutes. If using three smaller loaf pans, bake for 30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and peaches are bubbling. Let cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before serving with a generous scoop of coconut ice cream.