Cooking: Make Dishoom’s Pineapple & Black Pepper Crumble

and other notes on cooking.

I have made the jackfruit biryani from the cookbook Dishoom: The First Ever Cookbook from the Much-Loved Indian Restaurant (Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, & Naved Nasir) twice now, and I’ve applied the principles from the recipe to myriad other dishes, from how to season rice for burritos to marinating jackfruit for any old dish. That is what I like to take from a cookbook: a new-to-me process that gives me endlessly applicable technique, and I’m learning from everything I try in this one, like the okra fries (my first foray into doing anything with this vegetable beyond tossing it in a stew or curry) and this dessert, a crumble that uses the most ubiquitous fruit in my household to great effect.

Before we get to the recipe, the other things that we ate that were great this week were some burritos with sazón-seasoned jackfruit and rice; a poblano-based salsa I made using instructions from Carlos Cuestas in last week’s discussion thread; a chayote and red onion escabeche that was inspired by Mexico: The Cookbook but in reality all I did was boil the chayote till tender all the way through, peel, slice, and soak it all in lime juice and a hearty helping of kosher salt (this is generally an easier and more efficient way to “pickle” a thinly sliced red onion for tacos or anything else); and a simple cashew cheese (soak, drain, immersion blend, add water until your consistency is nice, then toss in a clove of garlic, some salt, a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, a pinch of white miso, a hearty dose of nutritional yeast).

Israel, my boyfriend, made these pita from David Tanis in NYT Cooking and, LORD! The fluff. This recipe is going to be a staple. So is Lukas Volger’s Peanut Butter & Greens Sandwich from Start Simple, which I finally got around to making last week because we wanted to eat greens but also wanted bread and peanut butter (hear my old “Meatless” interview with Lukas here). It’s perfection. I’m also excited to preserve summer squash in oil thanks to Domenica Cooks, who also shared this in last week’s discussion thread.

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Pineapple & Black Pepper Crumble

This is our take on a British classic. You can serve it warm or cold, on its own,
or with custard or a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. The tang of pineapple and spice of pepper work wonderfully together. 

You can prepare the crumble topping in advance, but don’t apply it until you’re ready to bake.

SERVES 4–6

FOR THE FILLING
1 large, fresh ripe pineapple (you need around 750g flesh)
1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
100g granulated sugar
A few twists of black pepper

FOR THE CRUMBLE
100g plain flour
100g rolled oats
100g granulated sugar
100g salted butter, cubed, at room temperature [Alicia’s note: Use vegan butter or coconut oil.]

TO SERVE
Vanilla ice cream or custard

1. Trim the pineapple of its skin, prising out the “eyes”, and cut into 2cm chunks, discarding the hard core.
2. Place the pineapple chunks in a saucepan and add 200ml water. If using a vanilla pod, split in half, run a knife down the length to remove the seeds and add the seeds and pod to the pan. (If using extract, it goes in later.) Simmer over a medium-low heat for 20–25 minutes, or until the pineapple is soft, stirring occasionally. If the pan starts to become dry, add a little more water.
3. Meanwhile, make the crumble. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your hands until fully incorporated; there should be no loose flour left.
4. Heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. 
5. Once the pineapple is soft, add the sugar and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the black pepper and vanilla extract, if using. Turn off the heat and set aside.
6. Spread the pineapple mixture in a medium baking dish and top with the crumble mix. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the topping has formed a lovely golden crust. 
7. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then serve, with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Extract taken from Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir (£26, Bloomsbury) Photography © Haarala Hamilton.