Apricot Crumble made it's way onto this week's menu plan at OSHC (Out of School Hours Care) which some of you may know is where I work (my job title is Educator but my responsibilities involve managing the kitchen and preparing afternoon tea for the kids every day)
I only ever made a crumble once before this – about a year ago.
I didn’t like it.
It was a terrible attempt.
Trying to increase the cooking temperature to compensate for limited cooking time is always risky – but add that to a crumble mixture with incorrect proportions of wet-dry ingredients and it’s over before it starts.
It was more like porridge.
I hate porridge.
So did some research on different crumble recipe ideas (actually I got my partner to google recipes and read them out to me as I was getting dressed and running out the door to work!)
Arrived at work with these rock solid recipe alteration ideas firmly floating around some part of my brain….I got this….
Oh yeah, wanna see the shopping list I prepared on Monday ready for my bi-weekly shopping trip?
Here we go…
(All images in this post are photos I took myself using my Samsung Galaxy S9)
Needless to say I was unprepared, officially stranded with no other option but to shut my eyes and hope a crumble would appear.
I revert to basics, stock standard rules about food and cooking that even a goat would know….not actually a goat, unless the goat was a super intelligent genetically modified hybrid of some sort – but even then it probably wouldn’t know because goats don’tcook (it’s an opposable thumb thing, don’t worry too much, they get it all the time).
BACK TO THE CRUMBLE!
I decide to go for equal quantities – volume, not weight, just to be difficult - of dry ingredients (plain flour, brown sugar, oats) which in theory should require a bit less than equal volume of butter – nope, out of butter, Nuttalex it is then (cool, the lactose free kid will be able to have some now).
No time for rubbing butter and flour together, chuck it all in the food processor and boom – done.
Food processor may have overworked the mixture, got some big uneven clumps that I can’t rub out, need more dry ingredients.
Lightbulb moment 💡 there’s a box of gluten free quinoa flakes in the pantry which should make up for the lack of oats…luckily I spied the desicated coconut as I was backing out of the cupboard trying not to hit my head on the shelf above me.
Chuck ‘em both in.
That looks a bit better.
Now I haven’t actually measured any ingredients since the very beginning when I did equal volumes of the flour, oats and sugar- everything since that required using the force.
Smear some Nuttalex around the trays
Crack open tins of apricot halves, drain and into the trays they go, full coverage in a single layer
Completely cover apricots with crumble mixture, I like to trickle some of the syrup from the apricots over the top
Then in the oven!
Oh, by the way, the oven is unreliable, bakes unevenly, temperature is an all or nothing thing and you’ve only got an hour (roughly) before the oven gets tired or bored or menopausal or something – I don’t know what it’s excuse is but it just stops being hot.
With all this in mind, cook the crumbles, don’t burn them while your cleaning up your mess because you still have to have a clean workspace to prepare the vegetables for the fructose intolerant coeliac kids AND THEN cut up enough fruit for the other 62 kids toeat before they get their ‘afters’.
Oh yeah, and now you’ve only got 20 minutes before you have to serve (usual time allocated for preparing fruit platters = 30-45 minutes)
I GOT THERE IN THERE END!
When you’re solely responsible for feeding 50-90 kids their after school snack every day there is no option to fail, you can’t just say “Oh, look kids, really sorry…had a few issues, things didn’t quite work out so ah, yeah,…might give afternoon tea a miss today yeah?”
Lol…. Yeah, nah…..
So how’d the crumble turn out?
Bit crispy but….
Had some left over crumble mixture so busted out the patty pans as well…
Shall I tell you the rest of the story?
OK, get this…
NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT MY CRUMBLE!!
I usually get kids dumping their dirty dishes on the kitchen table while they chirp and squeal to me how they loved my food and how great it tasted, then I get complaints that they only got second helpings and they wanted thirds…
BUT NO….. this time – NOTHING!
I was so deflated.
My only indicator was that there were no leftovers and only minimal scraps were thrown away.
Ah well, it’s times like this you don’t feel so bad about serving yogurts the next day.
So as you can see I’m pretty “on it” when it comes to troubleshooting in the kitchen and adapting “on the fly” so if you have any questions or want some tips or advice on emergency style cooking (or normal cooking for that matter, I’m normally pretty awesomein the kitchen and know how to handle cooking for large numbers of kids with at least a handful of specific dietary requirements included on any given day) please feel free to chuck a comment in below and ask anything you like, honestly I like talking about food as much as I like cooking it.
Thanks for reading.
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