It is most definitely autumn around these parts. The days are much shorter and the evening light is golden and beautiful. Oh, and there are feijoas everywhere I look! These small green fruits are the best part of autumn along with cardigans and boots, in my opinion. Mind you, in windy Wellington, we can wear boots and cardigans during each season of the year, and I have even been known to light a fire on Christmas Day during a gale force southerly wind. I digress.
Feijoas, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about (like most of my Canadian friends and family), are related to the guava family and they are native to Central and South America. But we are fortunate enough to have the climate to grow them here in New Zealand.
This gorgeous green fruit has a very unique flavour that is hard to describe, but to me it tastes like a cross between a guava, a pineapple, a lemon, a lime and a kiwifruit. Seems like quite a few flavours, eh? And that is exactly what the taste buds think. These little fruits are a flavour explosion. And I can never get enough of them before the season is over.
Apples and feijoas are a winning combination. Much like apple and rhubarb (another favourite). This spiced crumble is delicious for a special dessert, but can also be made, cooled and kept in the fridge to eat for breakfasts! Just reduce the sugar content if need be.
As usual with my recipes, you can substitute the sweeteners and flours for what you have on hand, and replace the almonds with sunflower or pumpkin seeds if there is a nut allergy. The butter can be replaced with coconut oil and you can use oats in place of the buckwheat groats if you prefer. And for those of you who can’t access feijoas, just replace them with rhubarb or more apples, or plums.
Apple & Feijoa Buckwheat Crumble
4-5 apples (I used Granny Smith, but use whatever you have on hand)
6-8 large feijoas (or replace with 2 extra apples)
1 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lemon
2 TBLS unrefined sugar of choice
2 TBLS brown or white rice flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup almonds (if you don’t have a food processor, coarsely chop the almonds)
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/3 cup fine white rice flour
1/2 cup unrefined sugar of choice (I used coconut sugar)
pinch of sea salt
70 gms cold butter or firm coconut oil – chopped into 1 cm cubes/pieces
Preaheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a medium-sized baking dish (not a shallow dish).
- Peel and core apples and place in a large mixing bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice and add the vanilla extract. Scoop out the feijoa flesh and place in the bowl with the apples and toss to coat.
- Mix together the remaining filling ingredients: brown or white rice flour, sugar, spices and salt and sprinkle over the apple and feijoa mixture and toss again to coat.
- For the crumble topping: place almonds and buckwheat groats in a food processor and pulse several times until the almonds and buckwheat groats are in smaller pieces but NOT a fine meal (not necessary to have a food processor and the buckwheat groats are extra crunchy when left whole, but you will need to coarsely chop the almonds by hand).
- Place the coarsely chopped almonds and buckwheat groats into a mixing bowl along with the remaining topping ingredients except the butter or coconut oil. Mix to combine. Add the butter/coconut oil pieces and using a pastry cutter or fork or just your hands work the butter into the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal with pea-sized butter-coconut oil lumps (see second-to-last photo).
- Give the apple mixture another toss before placing into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit mixture and gently press it slightly, but don’t press too firmly or it won’t be as crispy. Place in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with foil and remove the foil 5 minutes before taking the crumble out of the oven. The apples should be soft and cooked through. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or just on its own. It is even better for breakfast the next day with fresh yogurt.