I am a total summer-lover but there are a few things I look forward to in our colder seasons: open fires and red wine, pretty woollen jumpers (which can hide a multitude of comforting-carbohydrate-sins) and big woollen socks, slow cooked meats and cold weather thriving fruits like rhubarb, persimmons and tamarillos.
Tamarillos or tree tomatoes are available in New Zealand around June and July and if you know someone with a tree, be really nice to them because at the supermarket they can cost about $15/kg.
We’ve just started a vege garden at home and this is no ordinary patch; large white panels are hinged onto the fence to direct sunlight and a glass dome protects new seelings from the harsh elements and our naughty cat. I’ll admit that it did absolutely nothing to contribute to this garden; it’s my husband that can take full credit for this functional garden sculpture. It’s been over a year since we’ve been able to grow anything hence his overexcitement. I dream of one day growing produce all year round: tomatoes, strawberries and even stone fruit in the warmer months and rhubarb, carrots of every colour and tamarillos in the cold.
Fruit crumbles are an essential winter meal – pull one out of the oven at the end of a dinner party and watch your guests swoon.
Serves 6For the fruit
8-10 tamarillos, score the ends
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
For the crumble topping
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup seeds and/or nuts (any mixture you have in your pantry)
½ cup coconut thread
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1.Boil a large pot of water and blanch tamarillos to remove the skins. They only need approximately 30 seconds in the boiling water then take them out and plunge them into ice cold water.
2.Peel the skins once they are cool to the touch. Cut each tamarillo into quarters.
3.Peel apples and cut into 5mm slices.
4.In a large saucepan heat a knob of butter and add the apples and sugar. Cook the apples for around 10 minutes on medium then fold in the tamarillos and lemon. Do not over-stir the fruit mixture at this point. You don’t want it to be mushy. Set aside.
5.For the crumble topping, combine the oats, seeds/nuts, coconut, sugar and melted butter. The best technique is to rub the mixture together with your hands.
6.Spoon the fruit mixture into 6 small ramekins – just under fill so you have room for the crumble topping.
7.Pack the crumble topping firmly on top of the fruit mixture.
8.Bake at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit boils over the sides of the ramekins.
9.Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top of each crumble.