Eating in Early Middle Ages Europe – Recipes – Summer Fruit, Honey and Hazelnut Crumble

A baked dessert like this would have been sunk in the embers of the fire, with a cauldron or pot, upturned over it to form a lid.

Serves 6 (six)

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2.5 lbs) mixed soft summer fruits – raspberries, loganberries, strawberries, currants, bilberries or what ever is available.
  • 75 g (3 oz) toasted hazelnuts
  • 75g (3 oz) wholemeal or whole wheat brown breadcrumbs

Method

Put the fruits in a pan or microwave dish with about 20 cm (1 inch) of water in the bottom and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes (about 4 to 6 minutes in a microwave, depending on power), or until the fruit has become soft.  Avoid it becoming a puree.

Sweeten to taste with honey or brown sugar (people of the era would have used honey, so if authenticity is what you’re after, go with the honey).  How much honey you need, will depend on the type of fruit(s) used and how sweet they are.  Drain any excess juice and save to serve with the Crumble.  Chop hazelnuts in a food processor or similar until they are around the consistency of bread crumbs, but preferably just a little bit larger, to still have definition and be recognisable from the breadcrumbs, and then mix the two together.

Spoon the fruit into an oven proof dish and cover with a thick layer of the hazelnut & breadcrumb mix.  Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, gas mark 4) for between 20 to 30 minutes or until the top is slightly crunchy and browned.

Serve with cream or a plain yoghurt, and the warmed fruit juices.

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