Arty’s oddmother is allergic to nuts, and he also attends kinder with a child with a nut allergy, so I’m always looking for ways to sub nuts out of recipes that would otherwise be off-limits for morning teas and lunch boxes. Now that we’re heading into the cooler months of autumn and winter, I’m developing the urge to cook pies and crumbles, but they’re not always amazingly portable for work and school (though I have found a way around this in the past). I thought making a crumble/slice hybrid might be a practical option.
To me, crumbles should have a nutty flavour. Nuts complement the fruit, and add another levels of interest with both flavour and texture. So how do you get around that when you’re going nut-free? Seeds!
Pear-seed crumble slice
For the base
- 100g butter, softened
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp milk
For the filling
- 4 pears (I always find it difficult to be specific about quantity with fruit, because it varies in size so much. The pears I used for this one were of truly epic proportions so I only used two, but I think 4 average sized pears would do the trick for this).
- 3 tbsp water
For the crumble topping
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/8 cup linseeds
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- 125g butter, softened
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 160ºc, and line a 20x30cm slice tin with greaseproof baking paper.
- Peel and core the pears, and cut them into small cubes. I’m rarely pedantic about how I chop things (“Shh! It’s charmingly rustic!”), but smaller pieces will help your slices stay together, so it’s worth taking the time here.
- Place pears and water in a small saucepan, and cook over a low heat until tender. Set aside to cool.
- To make the base, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg, and continue to beat until combined. Then, add the flour, baking powder and bilk, and fld through to combine. Spread this mixture into your lined tin.
- Distribute your cooled pears in an even layer over the base, then set aside.
- Take oats and seeds and pulse them in a food processor until they’re a rough mealy consistency (the linseeds won’t be as easy to pulverise as the other parts, but that’s ok). Add this to a bowl with the remaining crumble ingredients, and rub the butter through with your fingers until you have a mixture that is roughly the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Layer the crumble mixture over the pears in your baking tin.
- Place the slice in the oven, and bake for 40 mins, or until golden brown on top.
- Cool in tin, then cut into 8-12 pieces to serve.
I love the way the unique flavour of the sunflower seeds complements the pear in this recipe. They’re a really lovely match.