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I love fruit crumbles, and this combi steam apple, rhubarb and strawberry crumble is a favorite thanks to its combination of tart and sweet.
There’s something quietly appealing about dicing a pile of whatever fruit happens to be in season, then piling it into a dish and scattering with a generous pile of butter and sugar-rubbed flour. A short turn in a hot steam oven collapses the fruit into a puddly, syrupy mess and turns the topping a gentle golden colour with the texture of a crunchy-outside soft-inside oatmeal cookie. It’s perfect comfort food, and if you happen to have a jug of custard or a few scoops of ice cream, all the better.
Why bake fruit crumble in a combi steam oven?
There’s nothing bad at all about baking crumble in a regular oven, but since I’ve owned a combi steam oven I’ve always cooked mine in there. It means I don’t have to cook the fruit first, and that I don’t need to add any liquid to it. The bright, clean flavours of the fruit cook in nothing but their own juices and retain far more flavour.
Variations on the classic fruit crumble
Classically made just with apples, crumbles welcome many different fruits.
This cool weather version has apple for body and texture, just enough strawberries to lend their heady perfume and lots of tart rhubarb to cut through the sweet fruit and add brightness. In Summer I’ll happily use peaches, nectarines and berries, and Autumn brings maybe my favourite fruit for cooking, plums.
If you’re using very tart fruit you might prefer a little more sugar than I’ve listed below, though I like the contrast between the barely-sweetened fruit, the sweet biscuit-like topping and a creamy vanilla custard.
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Apple, Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble
- 8 1-cup ceramic dishes or ramekins
For the filling
- 1 bunch rhubarb about 1.3lb/600g, trimmed, cut into 1"/2.5cm pieces
- 1 punnet strawberries ½lb/250g, hulled and halved
- 2 medium cooking apples peeled, cored and diced into 5/8”/1.5cm pieces
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F, combination steam setting. If your oven has variable humidity, use 60%. If not, don't worry! Just select combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will work out the humidity for you.
Prepare the filling
- Mix the fruit and sugar together in a bowl, then divide between 8 dishes (if making one larger crumble, put it all into a single baking dish).
Make the crumble
- Cube the butter and put it into a bowl with the flour, almond meal, oats, sugar, salt and spice.
- Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles damp sand. Gently mix the nuts through, then pile the crumble over the fruit. Don’t press down, you want it to be quite loose and uneven.
- Bake the crumbles until the topping is golden and the fruit is collapsed and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Serve hot with custard, ice cream or double cream.
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And if you’re after more delicious combi steam baking recipes, the Cakes and Baking Index page has plenty. Try the Plum Tart if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and need to use up a glut of fruit. Or if you’re in the mood for total decadence in a hurry, the 12 Minute Steam Oven Brownies are fabulous.