Lavender and Pear Crumble

One of the first few things I ever remember learning to cook was a simple apple crumble. I barely processed what I was doing at the time but I was amazed at how simple cooking could actually be. I still remember plunging my hands into the flour and butter mixture and working away until they resembled breadcrumbs. I still remember taking that very first bite of molten apple crumble and the feeling of achievement. I still remember realising that I didn't put any sugar in the crumble mixture. I still remember throwing that crumble away. I still remember like it was yesterday. Oh well.

Some twelve or so years later (and still not over it) and I'm revisiting a taste of my childhood. In fact, I don't think I've had any sort of crumble for five, maybe six, years. But in those twelve years my tastes have evolved from craving a sugar-filled dessert into something more refined. In this recipe I've also included bitter dark chocolate to give further complexity to the pears but it's not entirely necessary. The crumble without the chocolate is still really satisfying. The lavender gives this dessert a wonderful perfume that I think both kids and adults would enjoy. I've used lavender that we have growing in our garden. In fact quite a few ingredients I've used we grow in our garden. Maybe I'll do a garden special soon. I'd suggest a nice scoop of ice cream to accompany this for the kids and a nice thick clotted cream for the adults. I've served this with a lavender cream. 

Lavender and Pear Filling
4 ripe pears - peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon crushed lavender
25ml water
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
50g golden caster sugar
50g dark chocolate roughly chopped (optional)

100g butter - cubed
100g plain flour
100g ground almonds
75g demerara sugar
a pinch of salt

Lavender Cream
130ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed lavender
1/4 teaspoon lilac food colouring
5 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (gas mark 4). Place all of the ingredients for the lavender and pear filling (minus the chocolate, if you're using it) in a pan on a low heat for 10 minutes until the pear is tender. In the meantime rub the flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs (haha) and then mix in the ground almonds, sugar and salt. Place the pear mixture into an oven-proof baking dish and scatter the roughly chopped chocolate (if you're using it). Scatter the crumble mixture on top and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the fruit is bubbling on the sides. Leave to cool for 30 minutes. Whisk the ingredients for the lavender cream until stiff. Serve the crumble with the lavender cream on top and garnish with lavender sprigs. Voila!


3 August 2009 at 21:33 Anonymous said...

I didn't even know one could eat lavender. I thought it was for keeping moths from munching through my sweaters.

3 August 2009 at 22:43 ABowlOfMush said...

I love the flavor combination here! Pear and lavender sounds really interesting!
This looks really wonderful and delicious!

4 August 2009 at 07:05 The Apple Hill Adventurer said...

wow, looks so lovely! just today i was asking my mother if she knew any foods or recipes that incorporated lavender !

4 August 2009 at 17:11 Nina Timm said...

I used lavender in baking for the first time last year and was pleasantly surprised.Thx for adding another recipe to my lavender repertoire!!!

4 August 2009 at 23:40 M. A. Salha said...

barbarossaviii - You've reminded me to warn people that only eat lavender harvested for consumption (without harmful pesticides). As I grow this in my garden I can assure it's safe to eat. It can be a very overwhelming taste but you should definitely try it.

ABowlOfMush - Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure how this flavour combination came about but let me tell you that for every blog post I publish I have two other experiments that have gone considerably wrong. For instance, I was intending to post about Lavender Cupcakes but they didn't turn out to my liking so I didn't upload it.

The Apple Hill Adventurer - Thanks. I hope someone else tries this. I love the taste of lavender. Maybe you'll have more success with lavender cupcakes? Or maybe you could make lavender tea? I think this recipe would be excellent with strawberries as well (even though the strawberries wouldn't hold up structurally).

Nina Timm - Thanks for commenting. I like using flowers (especially those that we grow in our garden) in baking. Let me know if you try this!

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