Did you know that if you got butter, all-purpose flour and sugar in your pantry, you are halfway to dessert? Add some fruit or berries, and preferably some icecream, and seriously – you are almost already there. According to the famous Norwegian chef Arne Brimi, crumble pai is the simplest and quickest cake there is. I think he may be right. To be fair – I obviously have not made enough desserts and cakes to be able to compare cake in any scientific kind of way, but I must say – there is something about crumble pie – once you try it, you get hooked! I think this is due to the following five reasons:
- It is really quick and easy to bake (you can make it in 20 minutes)
- It tastes like a proper cake or sweet pie without all the sweat
- It is made of few, basic ingredients you probably allready have in your pantry
- It can be varied indefinitely according to your preferred flavour
- The ratio of the ingredients is easy to remember (I´ll tell you more about the 1+1=2 rule in a bit)
I love crumble pie and have made it a bazillian times (yes, that´s a word). A little while ago, I made a version of this crumble pie for this international group where I volunteer, and I promised to share the recipe (which is why this post is in English). We were having our regular get-together and were going to cook something, not sure what, but had some basic ingredients in front of us. And of course – sugar, flour and butter was there, so I thought out loud – SMULDREPAI (crumble pai) – that´s the solution! They agreed, so it was decided. All we needed was some fruit or berries, so I practically ran to the nearest shop and bought some strawberries – which have some Norwegian feel to it, and vanilla icecream – which in fact is kind of Norwegian, not because vanilla is Norwegian (it´s more likely from Madagascar), but because I read somewhere that Norwegians are somewhat different in that we eat a lot of icecream all year long, not just when it is hot outside, but almost just as much in the winter (obviously we do not eat icecream outside in snowy weather, though, brrrr). In addition I bought white chocolate – simply because it tastes good, and I believe that a little white chocolate goes well with the strawberries. So there you go – all set for baking crumble pie with strawberries, white chocolate served fresh with a cold vanilla ice cream – ready in no time!
The base of the crumble pie is the crumble dough. You can make it tricky or easy, with many or few ingredients. I have chosen to do it is as easy as it gets – I use a basic recipe that consists of butter, flour and sugar. To remember the recipe by heart, I use the 1+1=2-rule I kind of invented. Rule of thumb – the two most unhealthy ingredients form the 1+1-part (1 dl sugar, 100 g butter), and the least unhealthy ingredients is the 2 (2 dl flour). See? If you for some reason want to make it more healthy, you can of course change to a different flour. I mainly use all-purpose flour. Since I like the dough so much I sometimes make one and a half portion of the dough (1,5 dl sugar, 150 g butter, 3 dl flout) for one pie. It is not necessary, though.
This is what you need for one pie:
- 1 dl sugar
- 100 g butter
- 2 dl all-purpose flour
- 400 g berries (frozen are ok to use, I used strawberries, you can also use other kind of berries, or even fruit, like apples)
- some small pieces of white chocolate to finish (or some nuts, put them on before the pie goes in the oven)
- vanilla ice cream to serve
This is how you do it:
1) Turn the oven on 225 degrees Celcius
2) Sift or simply just pour the all-purpose flour and sugar into a large baking bowl. Add the butter (preferably in dices). The butter must be pretty cold, but if you leave it out for 15 minutes before you start, it is somewhat easier to work with.
3) Use your hands and fingers to mix the flour, sugar and butter together. Simple rub the ingredients between your fingers, grate it, until the dough is coarse with big crumbs. The pie dough should not be a firm ball as when you make normal pie, but consist of a lot of crumbs, where all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
4) Spread the berries evenly in the bottom of the pie shell or similar (oven proof container). Sprinkle the pie dough over the berries.
5) Put the pie in the oven, and bake in the oven until the tops of the crumbs are golden brown. Normally this takes about 15 minutes, but it varies a lot according to the oven, so keep an eye on that pie (no pun intended)
6) When the pie is finished you may put some grated white chocolate on top of it, but not too much.
7) Serve the pie warm with vanilla ice cream.
Variations: you may use blueberries instead of strawberries, try also mixed berries – and other kinds of berries may also work, for that sake. Remove the stone out of plums, replace strawberries with plums and voila – you have a plum pie. If you want an easy apple pie, try bites of apple, sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar over, and cover with the crumble pie dough, as explained in the recipe.