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Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

What is it with crumble that it looks so totally not sexy in photos? This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble has taken me so long to post because of the images but in the end, I gave up and these photos will have to do. All that matters is the recipe – your proof is in the pudding!

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble is so quick to make and ticks all the autumn-winter-spring pear comfort-food dessert boxes. We love this not just for dessert but any leftovers are pounced on for breakfast, weekend brunch and – typically French – for teatime too as a crrrrumbeulle with a pot of tea.

Comice pears Parisian market

All throughout Autumn and Winter, we’ve had a constant supply of ripe-firm pears at our local market, which are just right for this crumble.  In February, and now in March, they’re still going strong! For this recipe I use Comice pears but you can use Williams, Conference – any of the winter varieties.

Pears, Apples and Chocolate Heaven

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble recipe method

As I was developing the recipe, I found that adding some apple helped soak up the juices, as pears for a crumble do tend to be rather wet and juicy, which could make it a bit soggy if used on their own.  However, the mixture of the two together and cooking them lightly at the beginning will prove to be just right.

Chocolate hazelnut pear crumble method

To make this recipe a little less in gluten than my classic apple crumble, I’ve replaced some of the flour with oats and the hazelnuts just add that incredible flavour.  It’s like having a homemade Nutella crumble but much healthier.

Although I add unsweetened cacao powder to the hazelnut crumble, the real secret is hidden underneath: good quality dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao), in cooking disks or grated, just merges in to the fruit. It’s a perfect marriage in a baking dish.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

This one is ready to go in the oven. Just ensure that the chocolate and fruit are hidden underneath the crumble.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy chocolate oat crumble that's a great compromise for a family dessert with fruit - the ultimate comfort-food with extra dark chocolate and lower in gluten than the classic crumble.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: baking with oats, chocolate crumble, chocolate hazelnut recipes, low gluten, pear recipes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 318 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Chocolate Hazelnut Crumble
  • 50 g (2oz) Ground Hazelnuts
  • 50 g (2oz) Plain (all purpose) flour
  • 75 g (3oz) medium oats (porridge oats)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (4oz) butter unsalted
  • 1 good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 40 g (1.5oz) soft light brown sugar (cane sugar)
Fruity Filling
  • 10 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 firm to ripe Large Williams or Comice pears peeled, cored, chopped
  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, chopped
  • 10 g (0.5oz) vanilla sugar or cane sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 50 g (2oz) dark bittersweet chocolate (min 64%) (good quality, in button form or grated)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the crumble ingredients in a large bowl, lightly rubbing through your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
  3. Peel, core and chop up the apples and pears roughly into chunks. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, toss in the fruit chunks and sprinkle over the vanilla sugar. Leave to cook over a medium heat, turning the apples and pears now and again, for about 5-8 minutes. The fruit should not be mushy, just lightly cooked. Drain off any excess fruit juice if there is any (set aside and reduce over medium heat to serve apart with the crumble later so that there's no waste).

  4. Transfer the fruit to a gratin or pudding dish (no need to butter it) and scatter over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle on a generous amount of crumble until the fruit and chocolate are completely covered.

  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is toasted or lightly browned. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate according to taste.

We normally serve this chocolate hazelnut pear crumble on its own but if you prefer, add some vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or an adult boozy ice cream such as this non-churn Calvados ice cream (replace the Drambuie with Calvados).

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

More Crumble Love

If you love crumbles, have you tried these yet?

More Pear Recipes

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

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Melting Moments – Children’s Party Oat Biscuits

Things haven’t really changed much. For Julie and Lucie, a birthday party without Melting Moments isn’t complete. Who would have thought, as I discovered recently on Julie’s 18th?

Melting Moments Oat Biscuits

Of all the treats that have come out of this kitchen, Melting Moments, these little buttery oat biscuits, have somehow created that memory that’s rekindled each year round.

This was the very first recipe I made completely on my own when I was growing up in Scotland. It was from The Brownie Cookbook. I’ve no idea where it disappeared to, but I’d copied it down with Mum for my Brownie Badge and somehow it stayed as a family birthday favourite. I see there’s still a Brownie-Guide cookbook but I hate to think how old my edition must have been! I’ve just hit 50, so I’ve had a few melting moments recently too – especially with Julie turning 18!

Melting Moments easy oat cookies for birthdays

A last-minute 18th birthday party amongst her friends before the BAC exams hit recently, I offered to help Julie out with making pizza, macarons, and her favourite giant birthday éclairs with strawberries and elderflower cream (recipe is in Teatime in Paris!).

With bubbly it was a real adult party – until she realised we’d forgotten the Melting Moments! I was already melting in the kitchen with unusually high temperatures and the oven wasn’t helping.

Sure enough, Julie was checking out our splattered, tattered recipe sheet to get rolling her favourite little buttery biscuits in oats. Why is rolling the best part? Because, even at 18 they apparently love to get their palms sticky, rolling these dainties into little balls, flattening them quickly and pressing in cranberries or better still, glacé cherries.

Melting Moments oat cookies

Press in dried cranberries just before baking

I particularly adore the glacé cherries, as we buy them cheaply by the kilo in Provence, near my parents-in-law’s house in Saignon.  Did you know that Apt is the world capital of glacé fruits (candied fruits) and so every time we visit, I stock up on crystallised fruits from cherries, orange peel, to ginger.

Please ensure they’re good quality and sticky wet, as dried out ones at the back of the cupboard are just not the same!

Melting Moments

Even Papa wanted to put the cherries on top!

Melting Moments

This is an updated recipe from my original post published in 2011 – especially as, over the years, we don’t have an overly sweet tooth so we’ve lowered the sugar content again since. I was asked for this oat recipe by Hamlyns Oats of Scotland, who are kindly sharing this amongst their “Oat Cuisine Recipes” on their website in conjunction with the Perfect Porridge Giveaway.

Melting Moments

PIN me – let’s party!

Melting Moments - Oat Biscuits
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Melt-in-the-mouth buttery oat biscuits, rolled in oats and topped with bits of glacé cherry - perfect for making with children and sharing with the adults.

Servings: 30 biscuits
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 100 g (3.5oz) butter softened
  • 55 g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 1 small organic egg (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 100 g (3.5oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g (2oz) fine oatmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • medium porridge oats for rolling
  • 4 glacé cherries or dried cranberries for decoration Cut into fine bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and mix well.

  2. Roll walnut size pieces of the mixture into balls, and roll each one in the oat flakes.
  3. Place them on baking trays covered in baking paper or on a silicone mat, flattening slightly each one with the finger, then place 1/4 glacé cherry on each (or any other candied fruit; candied orange peel is good, too.)

  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown then cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

I used to make this with egg, but as so little is added, I often omit it and the biscuits are just as good! Melting Moments can also be rolled in desiccated coconut.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Melting Moments

Have you made them yet? In 30 minutes, you’ll discover why they’re called melting moments.

Before you go, don’t forget to enter the Perfect Porridge Giveaway NOW: there are THREE prizes, of which the winner of the first prize will receive a fabulous Perfect Porridge hamper of goodies from Hamlyns of Scotland!

Melting Moments Recipe

Have a delicious summer of melting moments and parties!

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this recipe for Melting Moments?  Please do leave a comment below – or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons, as I love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook.
Thanks so much for popping in!

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Matrimonial Cake – Oaty Shortbread Date Squares

It’s wedding season – and even if it’s not, what better lovable treat is there to serve than sticky Matrimonial Cake, or oaty shortbread date squares, with your date?

I’ve baffled even myself as to why I haven’t made these oaty date squares until recently.  Granny called the recipe “Matrimonial Cake” and it was my personal favourite of all of my childhood baking with her and Auntie Shirley in Musselburgh. There was only one problem and so it comes with a warning to you: it’s so blooming addictive!

Matrimonial Cake or Date Squares

By now, if I’m able to control myself like the French women with sumptuous Parisian macarons, Lemon Passion Meringue tarts, Strawberry & Elderflower éclairs, double chocolate tartlets, buttery financiers and Madeleines (all in Teatime in Paris), plus the likes of palets bretons butter biscuits, I can safely make Granny’s Matrimonial Cake and leave it sitting in the box for up to a week.  Right?

Wrong. Moreover, it hasn’t helped that Lucie provides a daily reminder that they’re just sitting in the fridge. “Let’s just have a couple, Mum. Don’t worry – you’ll still get in to your dress for the next wedding”.

It’s hard to believe it’s already two weeks ago that I was back in Scotland celebrating Lindsay and Eddie’s wedding in Edinburgh.

matrimonial cake Scottish wedding

My cousin, Lindsay, is the life and soul of every family party and at Christmas time, before you know it after Auntie Catherine lights up her homemade Figgy Pudding with brandy, there’s no snoozing by the fire; you can pretty much guarantee being put into a team as Lindsay puts on the entertainment for the rest of the evening with a whole variety of party games, quizzes and prizes. Eddie, you’re in for a most fun-loving life together and wish you both matrimonial bliss for a long, healthy and happy vie à deux en amoureux. As they say in Scotland, “lang may yer lum reek” (long may your chimney smoke)!

matrimonial Cake Scottish wedding dancing

Back home in France – as the honeymooners had found the sunshine – we were unexpectedly snowed in.  For the first time in five years, Paris was briefly coated in a giant duvet of snow and with the girls’ lycée closed, it meant I turned to Granny’s Black Book of Scottish Recipes for our golden sunshine in the cosy kitchen.

Thinking of the wedding, it had to be Matrimonial Cake! As the recipe calls for cups, I’ve double checked the quantities in more modernised measurements in grams and ounces and, as always, reduced the sugar slightly.

matrimonial Cake in the snow

Why is it called Matrimonial Cake?

Goodness knows why the recipe is called “Matrimonial Cake”.  Do you know of its origins? If you do, then please leave a comment below this post – I’d love to hear from you! All I know is that it’s popular in Canada, with some Canadians mentioning that the recipe originally came from Scotland.

This is when I wish I could have asked Granny tons of questions today, as this recipe probably has a lot more to it than meets the eye. All I know is that before life with Grandpa, she’d left Scotland and lived in Canada for about 3 years with a most adventurous life as nanny to five children of a business tycoon of a canning factory, originally from Kinlochleven in Scotland. Mr & Mrs Stewart loved entertaining and while travelling in their private plane, Granny had full control of their children, taking them on holiday, baking, sewing etc. and keeping up with the glamorous life.

matrimonial cake

When she baked these date squares with us, who knows what was running in her mind of memories? Questions were taboo back in these days but knowing just this now, I’d be dying to know the children’s names. Were they named after her own 5 children later: Ronald, Shirley, Irene, June and Catherine?

So, Matrimonial Cake looks like it came from her previous life in Canada. Its name is probably just because it was served at weddings at some time.  It’s ideal for a winter wedding, as dates are easy to keep in store. My theory is that it’s simply so deliciously addictive that it had to be kept for weddings or special occasions – what do you think?

Whatever its origins, this Matrimonial Cake is just as addictive as I remember it and Lucie is pleading we make it again.  We have a good excuse, as tomorrow Antoine’s cousin is coming over with her fiancé for a goûter before we see them at their French wedding during the next holidays near Paris.  More matrimonial cake bliss is ahead…

matrimonial cake or date squares

Matrimonial Cake: The Recipe

Granny mentions using lemon juice so I’m sticking with it – and even added a bit more which made the date paste turn a bit pinkish in colour but I loved this, as it ended up being rather appropriate for Valentine’s Day, too.  I see in other Canadian recipes that they use orange juice instead plus even some zest but I prefer keeping it simple as I remember it.  If you feel some zest coming on, then go for it!

Once the delicious shortbread-like oat crumble is pressed in to the bottom of the tin and spread with the date paste, just drop on the crumble topping and only gently pat it down so that the effect is still a bit crumbly on top.

matrimonial cake (date squares)

If you love dates, then you’ll also love these Date and Apple Bran Muffins, another inspiration from Granny’s recipes. One day, I’ll convince Uncle Ronnie to give me his recipe for a rather famous Date Loaf. In the meantime, wishing them a most Happy Wedding Anniversary – 60 years and many more of matrimonial bliss! I even heard the Queen wished them Happy Anniversary, too!

5 from 3 votes
Matrimonial Cake or Date Squares
Matrimonial Cake - Oaty Shortbread Date Squares
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Matrimonial Cake that Granny used to make. Whether it's Canadian or Scottish, the result is just as delicious: dates sandwiched in an oat shortbread crumble crust.

Course: Snack, teatime
Cuisine: Canadian, Scottish
Servings: 10 people (calories for 2 squares each @70g)
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Date Filling
  • 255 g (9 oz) Pitted dates either in a block or separate in packets
  • 110 ml (4 fl oz) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 lemon juice only from a lemon
Oat Shortbread
  • 110 g (4 oz) butter (unsalted) softened
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 90 g (3 oz) porridge oats
  • 120 g (4 oz) plain flour all-purpose
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
Instructions
For the Date Filling:
  1. In a saucepan, cook together all the ingredients except the lemon juice.  Cook gently until soft (about 20 minutes). It's ready when the dates soften into a paste. (If you prefer having a perfectly smooth paste, then blitz it for a few seconds in a food processor.)  Set aside to cool then add the lemon juice.

For the Oat Shortbread Crumble:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4 and grease a baking tin (I use a 27x19cm tin) with either butter or spray with baking oil.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar together either by hand using a wooden spoon or better, in a food mixer/processor.

  3. Add oats, flour, soda and vanilla until well combined.

  4. Press a bit more than half of the mixture into the greased baking tin - either with your fingers or using a flat spatula to make the bottom layer even. Spread on the date paste using a spatula and smooth it out until even.

  5. Top with the oaty shortbread crumbs and gently pat it on top to keep it in place but not too much - it's better to have a crumbly look to the topping. 

  6. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the oats are lightly toasted.

  7. Cool on a wire rack then place in the fridge for about 30 minutes, remove from the tin and cut into squares - or bars, if you prefer.

Recipe Notes

Like macarons, this is even better eaten next day - and the next and next...

Store up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature so remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

matrimonial cake or date squares recipe from Granny's selection of Scottish recipes

Like the recipe?  Have something to say about it? Just even want to say hello?  I love hearing from you – it’s my motivation to keep this blog going as I don’t monetise it. So, don’t be shy and leave a reply below… thank you!

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