I woke up to a torrent of rain – it was still darkish, at 7.15am, and my plans to take Jack out for an early amble and breakfast evaporated. He was sticking firmly under the duvet at my feet – not even stirring when sofabrother called on him for his early morning poop-walk. Slim pickings on offer in the kitchen – but enough for something involving butter leftover from Friday’s garlic/chorizo bread (without the garlic or the sausage), sharp green Granny Smiths, flour and lemon.
I have many guilty pleasures, two of them being that I eat lunch watching people make lunch (any cooking show) and have tea watching people choose wedding dresses (Say Yes to the Dress). And I remembered catching an episode of BBC’s The Hairy Bikers last week where they made an apple and blackberry crumble that they literally chucked together and cooked in half an hour. Just like their (hopefully not as hirsute) mums used to.
This is a really easy, rustic version of England’s finest dessert – the apple is not pre-cooked, but goes in dish raw and diced. They’re then drizzled with lemon juice (I was liberal in my 4 teaspoons), dotted with knobs of butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I didn’t have any blackberries so I zested in the lemon skins and added to the mix, I love a bit of sour and it seemed rude to leave them out. And I used salted butter in the crumble – which added a nice savouriness to the topping.
The crumble took 30 mins in an 180C/350F oven – but was still very blonde. So I gave it another 10 mins at 200C/390F – which made the syrup bubble through. Keep an eye on it tho – as the crumble can catch. It looked gorgeous – but sadly my camera can’t cope with the low light of a winter day – and the pics I took don’t do it justice. But the pic above looks just like it.
I baked the apples in a fairly shallow layer – and ended up eating half the pie. The lemon and cinnamon sugar made a gooey sauce that was soursweet. And the topping was crunchy with sugar. Next time I would use a deeper dish and pile the fruit in.
4 large green apples, preferable Granny Smith (skinned, cored and diced)
4 tsp cinnamon sugar (the same mixture you would use for pancakes)
4 generous blobs of butter
4 tsp lemon juice (about half a large lemon)
128 g (1 cup) flour
80 g (1/3 cup) butter, cut into small cubes
60 g (1/4 cup) sugar – I used brown
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
Arrange diced apple pieces in a large pie dish. Nothing fancy – just a rustic “heap”.
Top with the cinnamon sugar, dot with generous knobs of butter and drizzle over the lemon juice.
To make the crumble, add the flour, cubed butter and sugar to a mixing bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the apples. (If the mixture looks quite floury, but don’t worry – the flour will fall in between the apple pieces, creating a lovely thick sauce, while the thicker crumble pieces will crisp up on top).
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn up the heat to 200C/390F for 5 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Serve your crumble warm with cream or ice cream. Or if you’re not a fan of milky things … pair with a big strong Americano – like I did. A perfect breakfast for a wintery, writing day.
(all images in the public domain, Hairy Bikers courtesy BBC))