A Quick and Easy Mango & Pear Crumble
Would you think making mango crumble an utter waste of mangoes? My daughter thinks so and it’s not because she doesn’t like dessert or crumbles (so long as they’re made with fruit she likes)
It all started with my visiting the local market looking for Mankhurad mangoes, a variety of very sweet, juicy and arguably among the best kind of mango I’ve eaten. I couldn’t find any that particular day, but came across another local and equally delicious variety of mango which the mango seller told were called “Mangilal”. I hadn’t heard this name before, not that I’m an expert of mangoes, but thae lady selling them assured me they were “khub god asa” (Konkani for very sweet)
I bought a dozen of them, and sat down to research them. I couldn’t find much information initially, but it turns out that those mangoes were a much relished Goan variety known as Mangilar, Mangilal, Mang Hilario or just Hilario. Apparently, the original Hilario mangoes came from a tree in the garden of a Mr. Hilario Fernandes in Siolim (Goa) and are so named after him. Whether there is any truth in this story is a different matter but those mangoes are sweet!
So after eating some, making others into ice-cream and shakes, I still had 3 left. It was a weekend a couple of weeks back and I was wondering what to make for dessert. The uncomfortably hot summer was still around, and I wasn’t in a mood to be in the kitchen for very long and no one wanted anything heavy. A crumble seemed like a good idea and the only fruit I had on hand apart from a bunch of bananas and a couple of pears, were those mangoes.
So Mango Pear Crumble it was to be that day. When my daughter enquired about dessert and I mentioned Mango Crumble, her only reaction was, “What a criminal waste of good mangoes!”. It didn’t however stop her from enjoying the crumble.
A crumble is very much a part of both British and American baking traditions, and evolved from pies which were a good way to use seasonal fruit produce, traditionally apples. During the Second World War, scarcity and shortages of ingredients mean that flour, fat and sugar were in short supply. This lead to the traditional pie getting re-invented as the crumble. Today, with ingredients freely available, crumble toppings have been adapted to include oats, ground/ sliced almonds or other nuts among other things. Crumbles, like pie can be made with a variety of fruit and are served accompanied by custard, pouring cream or ice-cream.
This recipe for crumble is pretty much like many old-fashioned recipes where cooking is about proportions, use of intuition and then some adjustments for individual tastes. So there are measurements given for the ingredients, but you can wing it your way and adjust for taste. A really traditional crumble topping is made of just flour, butter and sugar but I like adding a little oats to mine.
And a question that’s been puzzling me. If your crumble was crisp on the top would you call it a crisp or still refer to it as a crumble?
Mango Pear Crumble
For the topping:
- *If your mangoes are very sweet you might need to reduce the amount of sugar.
- Put the pears, the ginger, the chai masala and the sugar in a saucepan with a quarter cup of water. Bring to a boil, and turn down the heat. Let the fruit simmer until the pears are just tender. Let it cool until warm.
- Add the chopped mangoes and the cornstarch and stir to mix well. Spoon this mixture into a shallow baking dish or into 4 largish ramekins (or 6 smaller ones). Let it cool.
- In the meanwhile, put flour and butter into a bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the sugar and oats and mix well. Sprinkle this equally over the top of the fruit mixture.
- Bake at 180C (350F) for about 20 to 30 minutes till the top is crisp and golden brown. Let it cool. Serve the crumble warm with vanilla ice-cream and slices of ripe mango.
- This recipe serves 4 or 6 depending on the size of ramekins you use.