A proper old-fashioned apple crumble
The secret of a really good apple crumble is cooking the fruit before you top it with the crumble mixture. Takes a bit longer but it makes it possible to get your fruit soft and your topping nice and crunchy. It's also worth using Bramley apples (or an equivalent cooking apple) which are much juicier and fluffier than eating apples
Serves 4- 6
Time: 15 minutes to cook the apples, 45 minutes to cool them and about 30-40 minutes baking time
Cost: about 50p a head
3 - 4 medium to large Bramley or other cooking apples (about 900g)
3 - 4 tbsp unrefined caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
A small chunk of butter (optional)
For the crumble topping
175g plain flour
110g butter at fridge temperature
50g unrefined caster sugar
You will need a medium-sized shallow baking dish
Peel, quarter and cut out the core from the apples and slice them thickly into a large saucepan. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp of the sugar, add the cinnamon and 3 tbsp water. Cover the pan, place over a low heat and cook for about 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the apple pieces are soft. Check for sweetness, adding a little extra sugar if you feel they need it but they should be quite tart. You can also beat in a little butter for extra richness. Tip the apples into a medium sized shallow ovenproof dish and leave them to cool.
Measure the flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and tip into the flour. Keep cutting until you can’t get the pieces of butter any smaller then rub the butter and flour together with the tips of your fingers, lifting it up and letting it fall back again into the bowl, until the mixture is the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and carry on rubbing for another minute. (If you want to see exactly how this is done look up one of the cooking videos on the BBC website. You can also make a crumble topping in seconds with a food processor if you've got one)
When the apples have cooled down turn the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the apples making sure you cover the whole surface then bake for about 30-40 minutes till the crumble is brown and the fruit juices bubbling along the sides of the dish. Serve with cream, vanilla icecream or custard.
* If you’re making a crumble to go with a roast put it in when you take the meat and potatoes out of the oven
* to make a slightly fancier crumble add a handful of raisins to the apples and replace 25g of the flour with 50g finely chopped walnuts.
* Other fruits that work well in crumbles include rhubarb, apricots and plums (stone them first). Packets of frozen fruit like mixed berries are also good - mix them with apple to make them go further.