The definitive fruit crumble (how to improve a grey February)

Just like every Spring, when the fashion press declares that pink is a thing; every January, I realise that the long dark days are slowly wearing me down. And we may have made it to February but so far I’m not feeling all that much better.

Anyway! There is one solution and that solution is a failsafe and completely delicious apple and blackberry crumble.

In true selfless public service announcement style I felt your weekend needed this. You’re welcome!

Behold:

You know how some cooked fruit puddings are a bit stodgy? Not this guy!

This is based on a Raymond Blanc recipe and he pre-toasts the crumble topping while making a separate fruit compote for the filling so none of the doughy School pudding and all of the fresh bite to the fruit.

You can make both of these separate entities while your two youngest children are busy with some kind of smug and lazy activity…

And then later, when you’re ready to eat (aka exhausted at the end of your tether) you will suddenly remember your efforts, put the two together and pop them in the oven to warm up. An instant mood-lifting cosy night in.

Look these photos were of my first attempt over the summer (because taking photos of food on grey winter days is a thankless task) and I’ll say this: Raymond is pretty generous with his crumble quantities but I felt obliged to layer it all on. On subsequent renditions I have either made a smaller quantity (given below) or reserved any excess for a second pudding.

I mean you can’t really complain about having too much crumble on your crumble.

Unfortunately in searching for these summer crumble photos I also had to scroll wistfully through page after page of sunny beach afternoons and quiet mornings in the garden.

The island doesn’t look like this right now. It’s beautiful but… not quite in the same way.

Ho hum.

In any case: I will post a link to Raymond’s original recipe here on the BBC. It’s worth also mentioning that, like his zealous measurements on the crumble, the whole recipe works well as a sort of guideline to ratios rather than an exact science. I have substituted different fruits, more/less sugar/cinnamon and they all turned out to be, nonetheless, the perfect end of day treat.

The definitive fruit crumble

Ingredients

Crumble topping:

90g plain flour

45g caster sugar

45g unsalted butter (room temperature)

Fruit compote:

300g apple (Raymond suggests Braeburn. Any apples are delicious in this recipe)

115g blackberries (these really are loose measurements – I doubled this when our garden was blackberry central in a desperate attempt to use them up)

30g unsalted butter

30g light brown / Demerara sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream / custard to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven 190C/170C fan / 375F/340F convection.

2. Crumble topping: mix together flour and sugar. Add cubed butter and rub with fingertips until breadcrumb texture. (Don’t overwork it)

3. Sprinkle mix over a baking sheet (line it with parchment paper to keep your life simple). Bake for 15 mins, or until lightly coloured.

3.5 Remove from oven and resist sample testing because it is (obviously) extremely hot. I have never made this mistake (I have). Set aside until ready to serve.

4. For the filling: peel, core, and cut apples into 2cm dice.

5. Put butter and sugar into a saucepan – melt together on medium heat. Cook for 3 mins until a light caramel.

6. Add blackberries and cinnamon. Cook for a further 3 minutes. Cover and remove from heat to continue cooking in the pan for a further 2-3 minutes.

7. When ready to serve, spoon the fruit filling into a shallow ovenproof dish, top with crumble mix, and reheat for 5-10 mins / until warm and bubbly, just like your newly improved mood.

Trying not to reminisce about the garden blackberry glory days.

Back to the crumble.

tMatM x

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