Pear Crumble with Lavender Cream

Crumble is one of my favourite desserts, so simple, so warm, so homely and so yummy. Here I’ve coupled seasonal pear and floral lavender for a dessert with undeniable winter cosiness balanced with a beautifully delicate perfume. Because the pears are cooked and sweetened they don’t have to be perfectly ripe, in fact a little firmness will ensure they keep their shape.

Pear Crumble with Lavender Cream

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients

for the lavender cream

  • 300ml single cream
  • 4 teaspoons dried lavender flowers (available from health food shops)

for the crumble

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 120g light muscovado sugar
  • 80g oats
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

for the filling

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1kg pears (e.g. Conference, Concorde or William), peeled, cored, quartered and each quarter cut into 1cm slices

Method

For the lavender cream: heat the cream and lavender in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Allow the infused cream to cool completely before storing in the fridge (preferably overnight, for the flavours to develop best).

For the crumble: preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar, oats and cinnamon. Place in the fridge while preparing the filling.

For the filling: melt the butter in a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium heat then stir in the sugar and cook for a couple minutes until the colour deepens. Carefully add the boiling water (the mixture will splatter) then stir the caramel mixture until smooth. Add the fruit in 3-4 batches (so the temperature of the pan doesn’t drop too low), stir it in and wait for the caramel to bubble again before adding the next batch. Cook the fruit until just starting to soften, then transfer to a 20cm/8” square (or equivalent size) pie tin.

Spoon the crumble evenly over the fruit and bake for about 45 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges! Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before serving with the lavender cream.

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