Super Simple Berry Crumble

I can’t deny my sweet tooth. So I try to work with it, by creating as much as possible without adding processed sweeteners. And by that, I mean even the least processed sweeteners that would be considered ‘better choices’ …like pure maple syrup and raw honey, for example.

food fervourSince it’s berry season here again (and damn, if berries aren’t some of the best fruits you can eat, not just for their lower natural sugar content but also for their prolific nutrient value) but also still technically Winter, I have been playing around with Crumble recipes for a healthier, warm dessert option (but believe me, they are certainly highly edible straight from the fridge and cold the day after) and I’ve arrived at the ideal result …for me.

You see, it definitely won’t be as sweet as many of you would expect or desire …so you may want to add sweetener yourself. If so, I’d leave the berries/berry element alone and add something (rapadura or maple syrup) to the crumble mix, if you have to. The other alternative is to serve the dish up with my Macadamia Banana Creme coz it’s naturally sweeeeet!food fervour

You will need a food processor, powerful blender or …a Thermomix (!) and the following ingredients: 150gm blueberries, 100gm roughly chopped strawberries, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 30gm almonds, 60gm oats, 10gm shredded coconut, 50gm coconut/macadamia oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease the base of a small casserole dish (I used a 16x16cm square container) with a little coconut/macadamia oil.

Add 50gm blueberries, 30gm strawberries and vanilla essence to your blending appliance and pulverise these into a sauce. (Thermomixers blend for 10 seconds at Speed 5-6.) Place the remainder of the berries into the casserole dish and thoroughly mix the fresh berry sauce through.

Without rinsing out your processing appliance, throw in the almonds, oats, coconut, coconut oil and vanilla paste (as well as any additional sweetener you may wish to add) and blend briefly: 3 or 4 pulses in a blender or food processor or the Turbo function in a Thermomix. The oil and vanilla paste moisture may make the crumble sticky, but it should be pretty easy to break it apart to spread it evenly over the berry mix.food fervour

Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, decide what you want to add to it – cream, custard (see left), ice-cream, Macadamia Banana Creme –  and be ready to devour it as soon as it’s done. 😛

 

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Macadamia Banana Creme

I have nothing against cream. I love real dairy cream, but I rarely buy it. So when I feel like some, especially for ‘sweet’ occasions, I usually turn to yoghurt … of which I always have a plentiful supply.

Yoghurt however doesn’t always cut it. I love it, it’s SO good for my gut BUT… it’s tangy. That’s the only problem. Tangy works with fruit salad, even fruit flavoured cakes, but not chocolate.

I tend to think of avocado as ‘nature’s butter’ or ‘cream’ but its flavour isn’t easily disguised, and neither is its colour! Cacao (or cocoa) seems to be pretty much the only thing with the flavour and colour intensity to use with it. (See my Cacao Avocado Mousse recipe.) Nut creams (like my Vanilla Brazil nut Cream for instance) are easy as well but, like the avocado option, they also require added sweeteners, even if only a little.

Having played around with banana before (we all know you can make dairy free ice cream with it, and even grain free pancakes) particularly as a whole food sweetener, I struck upon the idea of combining it with finely milled nuts. Guess what? It works!

The only downside (which isn’t really an issue) is that it’s better made and eaten fresh, since the blending process causes oxidation that will turn the creme ‘brown’ (see pic below). Fresh is best anyway, right? (…for nutritional content.) Also, the thicker you make it, the more likely it is that it’ll be ‘grainy’ but if you’re pedantic about it being smooth, simply press through a sieve or squeeze through loose weave muslin cloth (or nut milk bag).

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Oxidation causes changes and you can see the creme on this cake has ‘browned’. It didn’t affect the flavour at all 😉

 

All you need is a high powered blender, 100gms of macadamia nuts, 1 banana (the riper, the sweeter) and your milk of choice to alter the thickness of the creme… (I used 1-2 teaspoons (5gm) to make the spreadable creme for the cake above).

Firstly, mill the nuts (Thermies: 10 seconds at Speed 7-8). You may want to scrape down and repeat.

Scrape down before adding the roughly chopped banana and milk. Again, blend again at Speed 7 for 10 seconds, scraping down and repeating if you wish (I did).

Voila, you’re done! It’s ready to go. I’d love to hear what you think and the creative ways you use it. 🙂

 

Vanilla Brazil Nut Cream

Mmmm, this stuff goood! I’ve only discovered nut creams recently (thanks to a fellow food blogger’s amazing creations) and they are ridiculously easy to make…why did it take me so long?!

This particular version is the one I used in the Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes I  suggested might make a great Mother’s Day breakfast treat. I’ve made a few varieties in the past, and the simplest way to enjoy them is with fresh fruit. I’ve used them as ‘dips’ at parties and smeared them on fruit for afternoon tea (see pic). food fervourWhat I haven’t yet tried is a savoury version (well, I AM a sweet tooth!)… apparently cashew nut cream is the best: I’ve seen it used to replace sour cream in mexican meals, for example.

Brazil nuts are another ‘cumbersome’ nut in that they don’t taste great and some people even object to their size (!) but again, they are extremely nutritious – right up there with the almonds and walnuts – so I usually opt for them for that reason.

My basic ratio for nut creams is 2:1, nuts to water. The amount of water simply varies the thickness of the cream. If you want ‘whipped’ cream – or a ‘spread’ –  use a little less water. Simple!Food Fervour

For this Vanilla Brazil Nut Cream I used:

1½ cups Brazil nuts (approx 220gms), ¾ cup water, 1 tspn natural vanilla essence, 6 drops stevia liquid

Pulverise the nuts in your blender (approx 20 seconds, Speed 7 for Thermies) to create meal, then add the remainder of ingredients and blend & scrape as many times as you feel you need to, to create the consistency you desire. I don’t mind my cream a little ‘grainy’ so I didn’t spend a heap of time on that.

Pop it in the fridge as soon as possible to prevent (slow down the process of) nut fat rancidity, unless you are ready to spread it on your pancakes!

NB: I have yet to make my own vanilla paste so I can ditch the processed sugar- & preservative- laden essence product AND I’ve read something recently about stevia NOT being as great a sugar substitute as we all thought (if I can find the article again I’ll post a link to it) so eventually (on my journey to ‘Re-sensitise my Taste Buds’) I’d like to drop all added sweeteners…