Crumble is an apposite word for this time of year when the testing dullness of January reduces resolution to surrender. That enervating post Christmas week, which gave us pause to recognise that we must change ourselves for the better, slough off that old skin and renew ourselves is now several long weeks in the past. Maybe Narcissus should be the patron of New Year’s resolutions as our view of better tends toward thinner rather than kinder: giving up sugar in our diet is far easier than giving our time to others. So, as January draws to a close, when the mirror has confirmed that our Narcissistic resolve has been to little or no avail, it becomes clear that there must be a rapprochement: a relaxation in the self imposed, strict dietary regulations. There must be compromise. There must be crumble.
Foremost among the wonders of crumble is the simplicity and speed of its creation. When a recipe promises to be ready after 20 minutes preparation and 30 minutes cooking I am suspicious. Experience has shown me that such promises are akin to a politician’s pre election commitments….they are snake oil, a sales pitch…they are unfounded in reality. After hours of frustrated toil I have viewed and reviewed, despairingly, through flour and egg caked spectacles, at recipes that offered such short routes to pleasure. They were fools’ gold…they were bollocks.
I have long been a devotee of the crumble. Long enough to have learnt never to make a New Year’s resolution. A good maxim would be that one should do enough running when young to allow for time to crumble in peace in later years. Whilst shopping I was mulling over this thought when a tray of mangoes, each of which seemed to be attired in its own string vest*, caught my attention. So often mangoes, in the same way as quick recipes, offer so much more than they can deliver but these mangoes were, casting the string vests aside, as Catherine Deneuve in “Belle du Jour” is to a world weary hooker in Kings Cross. They were definitely to be picked up. As an added bonus, they came with a recipe for Crumble à la Mangue…..which is a total delight and confirms in my mind that it’s better to eat a Marathon (now known as Snickers) than to run one….the Spartan who started that insanity only did it because it came with the alternative of death.
100gms unsalted butter
a pinch of cinnamon
2tbsp powdered almonds
a pinch of Quatre Épices
Mix 75gms of the butter, softened, with the flour, sugar(keeping 1tbsp back), the cinnamon and powdered almonds in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Peel and cut the mango flesh into strips. Warm them in a pan, over a low heat, with the rest of the butter, the reserved sugar and the Quatre Épices.
Spread the warmed mangoes over the base of an oven proof dish (or in separate ramekins), cover with the crumble and cook for 20mins in a preheated oven at 200C.