Squash and apple crumble with a spelt and ginger streusel

Squash and apple crumble
I could never go on a diet. It’s not that I’m unhealthy: there’s nothing more that I like than some   freshly steamed asparagus (albeit with a knob of butter) but it’s just the idea of restraining  myself at a meal or having to say no to a slice of cake that doesn’t appeal. Anyway, not all desserts are made the same: a slice of chocolate fudge cake is never going to be as healthy as a granita. I like to think I go somewhere in between: a small portion of this squash and apple crumble smothered in custard with a dollop of low fat crème fraiche.

Squashes Squash and apple crumbleAlthough it’s the mid-winter we still have some home grown squashes left. At first I thought 
we’d used them all up so when I found another box, they were too good to resist. They’re easy to grow too and by the end of August their sprawling vines have taken over their patch of the garden (and usually all the other veg). Then, when kept somewhere with a relatively cool and constant temperature – we keep ours in a box on the garage floor, they last for the rest of the winter. Use any type of squash (or even a small pumpkin) that takes your fancy: butternut, acorn or summer; to be honest once chopped and cooked they’re pretty indistinguishable from each other.
A box of winter squashes

Of course squashes are great roasted or baked and in velvety soups but they can also be used in sweet things. Obviously they could be used just as a substitute for pumpkin puree in pumpkin pie but the sweet flavors that make them so good roasted, also make them great in a host of baked goods: muffins, in a tea bread or in a crumble, as here. When used in baked goods, it also gives them moisture and so you can cut down on the butter or oil in the recipe (although for reasons mentioned above that doesn’t worry me too much), as well as giving them a sweet nutty flavor and a sunny hue.

1 small squash, about 2 lbs
3 cooking (sharp) apples
1 tablespoon ground ginger
75g brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
juice of an orange

Crumble -
100g whole spelt flour (or substitute whole wheat or even plain flour)
50g sugar
pinch salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
80g cold butter, cut into small cubes
50g oats

1. With a large knife, carefully cut the squash in half then cut off it's thick skin. Using a spoon remove the seeds: these can be washed, dried and later roasted for eating. Cut the squash into half inch rough cubes. Peel and core the apple and cut into eights.

2. Toss the apple and squash with the ginger, sugar, orange juice and maple syrup and place in a foil lined tray. Bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.

3. Once baked, drain off the excess liquid formed during baking and transfer to a baking dish. For the crumble topping, rub together the flour, sugar, salt, ginger and butter until it becomes like gravel with some fine and some larger. Cover the fruit with the crumble and bake in an oven preheated to 190C for 20 or until the crumble is golden brown.

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