A Morning with Autumn Fruit Crumble
By Cal Orey
During World War II, sweet fruit crumbles were a cheap replacement for pies thanks to shortages of pastry ingredients and rationing. Flour, sugar, butter, and oatmeal were common staples for the quick dish that can be shared with special people. (And these are foods that are AWOL on the store shelves during a lockdown -- which we're going to experience again, any day now.)
Speaking of the past, I recall my late geologist friend and I went on a California book tour. It included Southern California – Glendale and Orange County. We even paid a visit to the San Andreas fault -- and were on TV in Palmdale. After one book signing we stopped at a small roadside café. We ordered homemade fruit crumble with ice cream. His down-to-earth tales of being amid nature as a student, professor, geologist for Santa Clara County, and predicting earthquakes was fascinating.
During tough times, like now, I miss his words of wisdom. He was like a dad to me. So, this pandemic era in an autumn at south shore, to comfort my feelings of loss, isolation, and no traveling, I baked a fruit crumble for two – to celebrate my longtime friend.
Apple-Cranberry Crumble for One
2 cups apples,, chopped
½ cup cranberries, fresh or dried
1/8 cup (each) brown and granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon allspice
1 lemon cut in half, all the juice
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup European style butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup oats
½ cup nuts
In a bowl put chopped fruit. Add sugar, flour, spice, juice. Set aside. In another bowl combined flour, butter, sugar, oats, and nuts. Put fruit mix in ramekins. Top fruit with crumble topping. Bake about 40 minutes. It’s done when topping is golden brown and fruit is tender and bubbly. Best served warm. Serves 2. Top with vanilla bean gelato. Double recipe if preferred.
And, this week one morning I whipped this up when it was chilly in the cabin. The spices filled the cabin and reminded me of my sweet relationship with a man who lived to be an octogenarian. He called me his biographer and taught me the ropes of predicting quakes. As I took my first bite of the crumble it was nice, like visiting with a dear friend from long ago. This sweet and savory crumble reminds me of Earth’s finest fruit and a man that left an imprints on my heart.