Strawberry Crumble with Basil

The humble crumble has to be up there as one of the most iconic British puddings. For me it has and always will sit in the trove of top dishes we are known for as a nation.

Come winter or summer I find almost anytime is an appropriate one to make it.

Always easy, devoid of fancy preparation and practically foolproof, I have yet to find anyone that doesn’t like it in some form. That unmistakably heady waft of its sweet and buttery biscuit crumb topping baking in the oven is enough to bring even the staunchest savoury tooth pied pipered to the kitchen.

I favour using the glut of whatever fruit is in season to create the molten hot, fruity base. In winter I like rhubarb and ginger, or apple and beetroot (you can find the recipe for that one here) but in summer I migrate towards softer fruits. Either berries or ripe peaches.

When it comes to berries you can swap in and out any you fancy. Due to the abundance of seeds in raspberries and the occasional tough blackberry, I tend to favour strawberries.

Aside from their delicious taste they also have a remarkable smell when cooking, far stronger and more enticing than many other alternatives. You will see what I mean, when you try it.

For the topping it’s about balancing the crunch of nuts and seeds, the texture of oats and the right butter to flour ratio. Too much and you can end up with a heavy lid of dough, too little and you end up with a charred mood dust effect rather than a light biscuity crumb.

Over the years I have tried many different variations and current the one I favour is a mixture of a few staple kitchen ingredients plus a few others sneaked in for added health benefits.

Here I have swapped out regular wheat flour for a white spelt alternative, my chosen sweetener is a unbleached cane sugar (coconut sugar and any maple syrup alternatives are too strong in taste) and the absence of my regular favourite, almonds, is subbed for sweet shards of coconut, which take on a wonderful smokiness after a quick kiss from the oven.

Additional ingredients I like to use also include Naturya’s Organic Chia seeds. Not only do they assist in creating a lovely crumb, but they also up the fibre and vitamin level. As someone with a sensitive digestion I eat them regularly in some form and certainly notice the effect they have, keeping everything working efficiently and feeling good.

Finally when serving, the final flourish is a dollop of coconut cream, or frozen creme fraiche and a scattering of fresh basil leaves.

This might seem like an odd option but the combination of strawberry and basil is a sublime one, the floral notes of the herb bringing out its freshness and depth of flavour.