Cheating at Pie

The English language has a whole lot of words for different kinds of pie-related desserts, like cobbler, crumble, grunt and slump, while Swedish lumps everything together as pie or crumble pie (but one gets away with calling crumble pie just pie too). Most home-made pies I’ve encountered are definitely of a crumble persuasion though, which makes the British and American pie tradition intriguing to an inquisitive geek.

The reasons that I don’t make a lot of desserts or any sweet baking is that it usually requires lots of exact measuring and takes quite some time. So, I wanted to make a pie-type dish for once and needed to cut every possible corner. What I ended up with could be described as something somewhere in between a crumble and a pandowdy (I guess, because I’m not entirely clear about similarities and differences). Here’s what I did.

Half a lime (for the juice), an apple and a nectarine.

Slice fruit and arrange in a dainty manner in a greased skillet (this one I think was once owned by my grandmother. Built to last.) Squeeze the lime in and drizzle some treacle over the whole thing. Put in hot oven for a while to soften and infuse.

Meanwhile, crumble up some cereal – in this case special flakes, and mix with liquid margarine. Melted butter is probably even nicer.

Add lemon cake mix and stir like there’s no tomorrow. I borrowed the idea of using cake mix for crumble from my girlfriend, who in turn got it from her sister.

Spread the mix on top of the fruit and add another drizzle of treacle just for the hell of it. Put back in oven and bake until it looks nice.

In order to get a proper crunch it needs to cool for a bit.

Despite being made with lime juice and lemon cake mix, the final product was surprisingly sweet (in proportion to the amount of treacle), so I ate it with crème fraîche and some unsweetened berries to get some freshness in there. Ice cream or custard will of course be good too. Total cooking time, about 25 minutes depending on oven temperature.


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