This poached fig and pear crumble is a happy nod to the loveliness of autumn. Using seasonal fruits with a touch of spice it is fairly light and healthy as desserts go. The rose in the syrup is subtle but lingering combining with the pistachio crumble to give a Persian twist to this British classic.
I am a bit of a sucker for a fruit crumble having been fed a lot of it on childhood visits to see my gran. While I love the taste of the stewed, sugary fruit and sturdy topping I still remember the sluggish feeling after lunch, the result of a sugar crash and too much flour, which endured for the rest of the afternoon. In retrospect this was perhaps a clever strategy by grandma to sedate by brother and get herself some peace and quiet.
The crumble in this recipe is more like granola, and is totally flour free with none of the stodge of a classic crumble. Because the poached fruit and the crumble topping are created separately, you can make the dessert extra light by serving the fruit on its own, or alternatively with tons of crumble and ice cream, whatever takes your fancy. Incidentally, having made too much of this the other day my husband has been eating it on top of porridge for breakfast. All in all, a pretty versatile dish.
- 250ml red wine
- 250ml water
- 30g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 star anise
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp rose water
- 4 seasonal pears such as green Williams
- 4 figs
- 2½ tbsp agave syrup
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
- 2 inches of fresh ginger (around 4 tsps minced)
- 70g porridge oats
- 30g pistachio nuts
- 30g date pieces
- Preheat the oven to 180c
- Begin by peeling, halving and coring the pears and cutting each half into 2-3 pieces. Rinse the figs and leave whole.
- In a lidded oven-proof casserole dish combine the red wine, water, sugar, star anise, lemon zest and rose essence and heat on the hob until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the pear halves to the pan, spreading them out across the base of the pan so they are covered in the liquid. Pop the lid on and place in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.
- Next, add the figs to the casserole dish and wiggle into place so that their bases touch the bottom of the pan. The liquid will have reduced greatly so they will not be covered which is fine. You are really just baking them rather than poaching them. Replace the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- To prepare the crumble, peel and finely grate the ginger. Heat the agave syrup and oil in a small pan on a low heat until it becomes really thin then stir through the grated ginger. Allow the ginger to sizzle in syrup for a minute before adding the oats. Stir well. Cover a baking tray with reusable non-stick cooking liner or oiled baking paper and spread the oat mixture out on the tray. It will break up in to small pieces as you do this. Place on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes shaking every few minutes to stop it burning. Then, add the pistachios and date pieces to the baking tray and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- To serve, arrange a fig on each small plate with 4 or 5 of the pear pieces. Spoon over a little of the syrup and then sprinkle the crumble topping as you like.