Is it just me, but there certainly seems to be a correlation between the older we get and the speed at which time goes by. Without divulging my age, let's just say that 2017 certainly feels to have passed in a blur of flour and clay. (And if you're wondering about the reference to clay, those who follow me on Instagram may well know that I have a new found love of throwing clay on the potters wheel! If you're at all creative I'd definitely recommend giving it a try!)
As we're already in 2018, may I wish you a happy New Year!
The first bake of the year that I'm sharing with you on Only Crumbs Remain is a simple fruit crumble recipe. Not only are crumbles perfect for this time of year - being comforting, warming and filling, they're also quick and easy to make as well as being perfect for using up fruits which may have sat that little too long in the fruit bowl.
Our fruit crumble consisted of plums, pears and a granny
smith - simply because that's what we had to hand, but there are so many
other fruits which are perfect to be used in a fruit crumble: stone
plums, peaches and apricots, soft fruits like blackberries,
strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries and then there are apples
and rhubarb which are a really popular choice.
I'll be the first to admit that a fruit crumble recipe isn't particularly cutting edge, but it is one of my favourite and must-have desserts during the older months. It's such a popular dessert, which the whole family is likely to enjoy.
The difference with our fruit crumble though is the use of panela, an unrefined sugar made from organic dried sugarcane juice. It really gave our crumble that something extra. The natural aroma of toffee which accompanies panela was delicious in the actual crumble and alongside the cooked fruits.
About Panela Sugar.
Panela is dried sugarcane juice. It is an unrefined sugar and has a wonderful aroma of toffee, and to Mr E it also has a few subtle coffee notes too.
The pack we bought, from our local supermarket, was produced in Colombia using the same sustainable methods which have been used for generations. The harvested sugarcane is pressed and the resulting juice is filtered into a giant cauldron where it is heated until it produces a thick caramel like product. It is poured into square moulds to set, and is then pulverised to produce a fine powder making it perfect for use in baking.
How to use Panela Sugar in Baking.
Panela can be used in so many ways from baked treats, like crumbles, cakes and cookies to sprinkling it on porridge. Basically it can be used in just the same way that we use caster sugars and other refined sugars that we're familiar with. Simply use panela 'weight for weight' in place of refined sugar. Do consider the natural aroma and flavour of the panela when deciding on how to use it! Although it was great in our fruit crumble it wasn't quite right in our custard!
The Benefits of using Panela.
The process of making panela means that the final product retains the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are present in raw sugarcane. The pack of Colombian Panela we picked up from our local supermarket listed vitamin D and magnesium in the nutritional information table (61% RI and 18% RI respectively in 100g of panela). Of course though, despite there being some nutritional value in the panela, it is still inherently sugar and therefore the body still has to deal with the sugar in the same way had it been a refined product.
The pack of Colombian Panela we purchased was sustainably produced by
small family run farmsteads which use the sugar cane husks as fuel when
it is heated.
So, here's how to make a fruit crumble with panela sugar.
colder months. It is made even more tasty with the use of panela, an
unrefined sugar made from dried sugarcane juice, which has the lovely aroma of toffee.
Hands on time: 15 mins Bake time: 50 mins Yield: 1 large fruit crumble serving 6 people
Family Sized Baking Dish - ours measured 27cm x 20cm x 7cm
For the Crumble
- 260g S R Flour
- 130g Butter, unsalted & chilled
- 120g Panela Sugar
- 60g Porridge Oats
For the Fruit Layer
- 8 Plums
- 3 Pears
- 1 Granny Smith, medium
- 1 tablespoon Panela Sugar
Notes: a) Consider placing any larger pieces of crumble onto the fruit first before spooning over the finer crumble. b) The length of bake the fruit needs will depend upon how ripe the fruit is to begin with, and also your own personal preference. Begin checking the crumble after 40 minutes of baking. c) Use which ever fruits are available - such as apple, rhubarb, gooseberries, berries, or stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, plums. d) If serving with custard, you may prefer to make it with your usual sugar - we didn't enjoy the custard too much made with panela.
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