For those of you who have been following me for a few months, you may remember that during my introduction to my apple tart recipe, I briefly mentioned my love of apple crumble and how good the one my mum makes is. It’s taken some time but I have finally found out the secret ingredient and have been given permission to share it with you. Be warned though, it is stunningly good and will most likely ruin all other apple crumble for you forever (but it’s totally worth it).
Everyone knows that the optimum ratio of filling to topping in an apple crumble is 1:1 (if not more crumble than fruit). To be honest, sometimes it seems like the fruit is only there to provide the dish with a modicum of healthiness but that is beside the point. The main problem I find with crumble is that it is always too floury and dry or there is far too much moisture from the fat and the crumble sets like concrete, however I have finally found out haow to counter these problems. The secret ingredient is ground almonds. Sugar, oats, flour and butter are all well and good but the added depth of flavour and texture from the almonds is just wonderful. By increasing the amount of dry ingredients, you can use more butter without turning your crumble into cement. Luckily, the ground almonds are relatively moist for a dry ingredient and so don’t turn the topping into a powdery mess like meaning a more buttery topping which is still the perfect texture.
Crumbles have been around for a very long time and became particularly popular in the second world war. This stemmed from the shortage in pastry ingredients so people would replace pies with crumble. Savoury crumbles can also be made and these use cheese instead of sugar. They contain a meaty or vegetable filling but are less popular than their fruit counterparts. In America, crumble is referred to as “crisp” owing to its texture.
The crumble topping falls under an umbrella of similar toppings known as streusel. Streusel is comprised of flour, butter and sugar and is commonly sprinkled over cakes and other desserts. There is a particularly nice cake which my mum has made in the past where the cake batter is poured over chopped and sliced apple and chunky cinnamon streusel is sprinkled on before baking. The streusel partially dissolves leaving pockets of sweetness running throughout the cake.
My mum’s version of apple crumble is based on the recipe by Evelyn Rose – a cook whose recipes are often cooked in my house.
I hope you enjoy the recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Cook time: 20 minutes
6 tart apples (like granny smiths)
¼ tsp. cinnamon (optional)
3 oz. (85g) plain flour
1 oz. (28g) oats
1 oz. (28g) ground almonds
4 oz. (112g) brown sugar
3 oz. (85g) cold cubed butter or margarine
(For an extra thick layer of crumble, multiply the recipe by 4/3)
Peel and core the apples.
Chop them into a saucepan and add two tablespoons of water.
If you are using it, add the cinnamon.
Simmer on a low heat stirring regularly until the apple has stewed and is very soft.
Once the stewed apple is cooked, pour it into the dish you wish to make the dessert in and leave it to cool.
To make the crumble:
Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.
Add the fat and rub the crumble together. Don’t make it completely homogenous, you want there to be a few little clumps in it to give it texture!
Sprinkle the crumble over the apple in an even layer.
This can be prepared in advance and then just placed in the oven when you want to eat it.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (1800C) and bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes or until it is golden on top.
This can be eaten hot or cold and is perfect with custard, whipped cream or ice cream.
To make the crumble look posh, you can always make individual portions with baking rings or in miniature ramekins.
Have a good one and I will see you next week with a set of delicious recipes for several types of enchiladas.