I first learnt to make an apple crumble at 15 when a school friend passed on her mother’s recipe to me when I was looking for an easy bake to take my mind off imminent GCSE exams. From that day on, I must have made it twice a week until I went to university (no exaggeration).
Creating the crumb in the crumble became my go-to stress reliever and frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t coincide with a guargantum weight-gain but I was admittedly generous with portion sizes when it came to family, friends and even neighbours who received my ever experimental crumbles (prune crumble anyone?).
Now I’m teaching my own kids’ how to make this simple, quick and delicious pud which will hopefully become their go-to bake too, transporting them back home like a sweet hug whenever they might need it or be to be close to us as when they grow up. It helped relieve homesickness at uni, that’s for sure.
The wonderful thing about a crumble is how versatile it is: pretty much any fruit, fresh, frozen or tinned will work perfectly well in a crumble (although I’m yet to try out melon FYI, but let me know if you do).
Here, I used Pink Ladies apples (my eldest son’s faves) as we didn’t have any cooking apples in and to be quite honest, Bramley apples or similar are not really neccessary (whatever your HE teacher might have taught you). I do find Bramley apples or Granny Smith apples to be more tart though so if you prefer your crumbles less sweet than the one here, do opt for those (and equally experiment with reducing the sugar content to suit your requirements/ taste).
The blueberries I added in this recipe were frozen, making it a cost-effective dish, too. Frozen fruit releases more water than fresh during cooking, making for a more syrupy filling to boot- vital in any successful crumble.
Let me know if you make it.
- 6 eating apples, peeled and cored and chopped into chunks
- 6 tablespoons water (rose water makes for a sweet, refreshing addition if you can get hold of some)
- 1 punnet blueberries (1 cup of frozen)
- A little lemon juice (fresh, ideally)
For the crumb mixture:
- 200g plain flour (or a mix of wholemeal and plain at 100 g each if you prefer)
- 75 g sugar (any kind)
- 1 tsp cinammon (optional)
- pinch of sea salt
- 100g cold butter
Grease a large pie dish with a little butter. Place your peeled and cored apple chunks in, and add the blueberries. Cover in water and a little lemon juice to preserve the apples so they don’t turn brown. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and cinammon, and stir. Then, add the butter, making a pinching motion with your fingers to create breadcrumbs (where the butter is covered in the flour mixture-there should be lumps). You can use a food processor if you prefer.
Cover the apple and blueberries with the crumb mixture, spreading it evenly with a spoon or fork, whichever you find easier to use.
Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown at 180°.
Carefully lift it out and check if the apple is soft, pushing a fork gently into one side (trying not to break the topping).
If the apple is still hard, pop back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes cooking time (add foil to the top if it’s already golden brown so as not to burn).
Once baked, allow to cool for 10 minutes and then serve with cream, custard or ice cream. Yummy!