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1 August 2016

For me, no sight affirms the presence of summer more delightfully than the arrival of stone fruits to market. Box upon box of rosy, blush fruits - satisfyingly heavy yet still firm to the touch - never fail to inspire me to try new recipes, flavour combinations and ideas.

Warm and comforting crumbles are usually reserved for late autumn, when apples, pears and quince ripen in abundance. And yet, as I sit here on August 1 amid grey skies and drizzle, I shall dare to suggest that a cosy pudding in summer can, sometimes, prove just the ticket.

The flavour of most stone-fruits can be drawn out with baking, making apricots, plums and peaches perfect for a lighter, summer crumble. Buckwheat flour has a unique and distinct flavour which marries well with sweeter fruits, and also makes this pudding suitable for a gluten free diet.
5-6 medium apricots
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
60g buckwheat flour
30g butter
20g oats
20g hazelnuts, gently crushed
20g brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 160C. Cut the apricots into quarters, then toss is the caster sugar and vanilla. Arrange in an ovenproof dish and cover with foil, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the crumble, rub the butter into the buckwheat flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the oats, hazelnuts and brown sugar. Increase the oven temperature to 180C.

Spread the crumble onto a lined baking tray, and bake for 15 minutes, until beginning to colour.

Top the apricots with the crumble, then bake for a final 15-20 minutes. Serve with creme fraiche or cream.

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