Strawberry and almond crumble
This is a crumble of dreams. This is nothing short of alchemy: you take the vilest, crunchiest supermarket strawberries, top them with an almondy, buttery rubble, bake and turn them on a cold day into the taste of English summer. Naturally, serve with lashings of cream: I regard this is as obligatory, not optional.
For this recipe you will need 1 ovenproof pie dish approximately 21cm/10in diameter x 4cm/2in deep (approx. 1.25 litre/2 pints capacity).
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Put the hulled strawberries into your pie dish (I use a round one) and sprinkle over the sugar, almonds and vanilla extract. Give the dish a good shake or two to mix the ingredients.
Now for the crumble topping: put the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and rub in the cold, diced butter between thumb and fingers (or in a freestanding mixer or food processor). When you’ve finished, it should resemble rough, pale oatmeal.
Stir in the flaked almonds and demerara sugar with a fork.
Tip the topping over the strawberry filling, covering the strawberries in an even layer and pressing the topping in a little at the edges of the dish.
Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, by which time the crumble topping will have darkened to a pale gold and some pink-red juices will be seeping and bubbling out at the edges.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and be sure to put a jug of chilled double cream on the table alongside.
The crumble can be assembled one day ahead. Cover with cling film and store in fridge until needed. Bake as directed in the recipe, but allowing an extra 5–10 minutes’ cooking time. Check crumble is piping hot in the centre. Crumble topping can also be made and frozen in resealable plastic bags, for up to 3 months. Sprinkle the topping direct from the freezer over the fruit, breaking up large lumps with your hands. Alternatively, the assembled but unbaked crumble can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of cling film and aluminium foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost for 24 hours in the fridge and bake as above.