Crumble, Crisp, or perhaps even Smulpaj? What do you call this old time dessert of stewed fruit covered with a crunchy, crumbly butter, flour and sugar topping? I’ve always known them as Crumbles so I’m calling this one Pear & Blackberry Crumble.
Crumbles were a very popular dessert in Britain in World War II as there was a shortage of ingredients to make pastry for pies, and a crumble was a good alternative. Oats could be added to the crumble mix which bulked out the butter, sugar and flour, ingredients which were all rationed.
Guernsey, my home Island, was occupied during World War II and grain for making flour was scarce, so potato flour was often used as an alternative when making breads etc! Presumably, potato flour was therefore used at that time to top crumbles, although I haven’t found any documentation to support this thought! Does this remind anyone of the urban myth about the apple pies in a well known burger joint!
In the US and Canada, a dessert of stewed fruit, topped with a crumb made of butter, sugar and flour and often flavored with nutmeg and ginger is called a fruit Crisp. In Sweden, its called Smulpaj and no doubt there are other names for this dessert in other parts of the world. Whatever you call this comforting fruit and crumb crust dessert, and whichever method you use to make it, I bet that it reminds you of cold winter days. It does me! It must be eaten warm with thick Birds custard (although cream or ice cream can be used as an alternative …. at a push) and it will transport you back to childhood.