Some people eat oysters when there’s a R in the month, but since I’m allergic to them I collect new food intolerances on those months instead. September is brought to you by fructose malabsorption and a heartily pissed off look.
I had wondered why I was still feeling awful even when I was eating fodmap friendly fruits such as raspberries or kiwis. Everytime I drank red wine even in small quantities I felt sick and bloated. I assumed my issue with coconut milk making me feel grim was because I had no gallbladder and it’s high fat.
Turns out it’s the fructose instead. I had mistakenly thought that fructose = fructans as in one of the fodmaps and if I avoided those, I’d be fine. But no, you can be fodmap sensitive and malabsorb fructose as well just like lactose intolerance doesn’t mean fodmap intolerant per se.
I really can’t explain you the science because I’m too busy crying but basically it means I can’t eat any fruit in any quantity. This has meant spending the summer lusting after chunks of chilled watermelon and plump cherries and little flat peaches and now it means scrolling past people’s Instagram photos of blackberries and apple crumble and swearing at them under my breath.
An apple crumble was about the the first thing I learned to make in a kitchen. My granny lived on a farm with both an orchard and a vast abundance of brambles nearby so autumn involved scratching my arms silly reaching into the bushes for blackberries and letting someone else cope with the wasps to get the apples.
Back home, everyone’s favourite way to eat the fruit was in a crumble. I’d stand at the kitchen table rubbing butter, flour and sugar together and feeling so clever that I’d created this masterpiece all by myself. It’s a hard dish to give up now so I wondered if I could make it fodmap and fructose friendly.
The two fruit I can apparently still eat in small quantities are pineapple and banana. My friend Beth had already tried pineapple crumble and given it the thumbs down so that left banana to try. I wanted to do a wheat free crumble topping and thought I could finally use the bag of millet flour I bought to replace it.
A little bit of Twitter advice led me to simply bake the bananas in their skins while I cooked the crumble topping separately on a baking tray. I then mashed the banana up with a splash of vanilla extract and countered the slight savouriness of the millet with some extra brown sugar and scattered it over the top for a pretty good crumble in 15 minutes.
Fodmap Friendly Banana Crumble (serves 4)
- 100g millet flour
- 50g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 50g white sugar
- 25g desiccated coconut (optional)
- 25g brown sugar
- 4 bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl and add the butter. Rub it all together with your finger tips to create a coarse breadcrumb texture. Don’t feel you have to break up all the lumps of butter now or the crumble might become tough. Add the coconut and mix through.
Spread the crumble mix out on a lined baking tray so it is evenly scattered and not too deeply piled. Put the bananas in their unopened skins on another baking tray and put them both in the oven at 180℃ for 10 -12 minutes.
Keep an eye to make sure the crumble doesn’t burn but don’t be freaked out that the bananas go black and sad looking in their skins. They are glorious swans under their ugly duckling exteriors.
Take them both out. Mix the brown sugar into the crumble mix and allow to cool slightly while you carefully take the bananas out of their skins and roughly mash them in a dish or ramekins along with the vanilla extract. If you want to bananas sweeter add a spoonful of coconut jam.
Scatter the crumble on top as deeply or shallowly as you like. Any excess freezes beautifully. Serve as it is or with custard if you feel cosy or creme fraiche if you feel sophisticated.
The millet flour is very light and crispy so you get a really good crumble texture. You do lack the stickiness of the slow cooked fruit of something like an apple crumble here but you do save on cooking time and on washing up while sating a craving so you’re still winning.
Let me know if you try the crumble on top of a more traditional fruit if you’re simply wheat or gluten free. I was really pleased with how this turned out on both speed and flavour and I no longer have to read fruitarian blogs* to try and kill my fruit cravings that way.
*Please note that linking to other blogs isn’t necessarily an endorsement of what they have to say, it’s simply keeping you in the loop with what I’ve been reading.