This recipe makes more than you’ll need for one crumble, and this is because I’d love you to set aside half the crumble mixture and pop it in the freezer. That means you are only ever a few unpeeled apples away from having a gorgeous crumble in the oven. Also, it makes a wonderful topping for all kinds of cakes – sprinkle a cup or so over the top of my sturdy picnic cake (page 185) before baking, for example. You can also spread it over a baking tray and bake until crunchy, then use it as a rich granola-style topping for ice cream, roasted fruit, yoghurt and fresh fruit for breakfast, and so on.
Depending on availability and taste, please go ahead and swap the blackberries with any other berry and the apple with poached quinces or stewed plums. And the hazelnuts could move aside for almonds, walnuts, pecans or a combination of all three.
Regarding what to serve crumble with, my feeling (for what it is worth) is always and only custard. Whether to serve this hot or cold has been a cause of ongoing debate in my house and we’ve settled it with the mandate that a hot pudding should be set down with a chilled custard and vice versa.
- 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 cups (260 g) blackberries
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp caster sugar
- Crumble topping
- 280 g (10 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (300 g) plain flour
- 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed soft brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (115 g) toasted hazelnuts
- 11/3 cups (135 g) rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
For the crumble topping, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a few seconds, until just combined. (Or combine in a large bowl and work together with your fingertips until coarse and lumpy.)
Add the oats and mix well. If you’re freezing any of the crumble mixture, transfer it to a container or snap-lock bag now and then pop it into the freezer.
Spread the crumble mixture over a couple of baking trays and bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Toss it around halfway through cooking so nothing gets stuck on the trays.
Meanwhile, prepare the fruit. Combine the apples, blackberries, orange zest, orange juice, caster sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium–low heat for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the fruit is tender.
Transfer the fruit mixture to an ovenproof dish – the size depends on how deep you like your crumble, but I generally use a 30 cm (12 inch) enamel roasting tin that’s 5 cm (2 inches) deep. Sprinkle the roasted crumble mixture over the fruit and bake for 20 minutes.
A BIG JUG OF CUSTARD
Combine 11/4 cups (310 ml) milk and 11/4 cups (310 ml) single (pure) cream in a saucepan over medium–high heat. Split a vanilla bean lengthways and scrape the seeds into the pan.
Add the vanilla bean and heat until the mixture is almost boiling.
Whisk 1/3 cup (75 g) caster sugar, 1 Tbsp cornflour and 6 egg yolks until pale and creamy. Splash a little of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk again, then pour in the remaining milk mixture.
Mix well, then return the whole lo to the saucepan. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until the custard is just about coating the back of your wooden spoon. Discard the vanilla bean, pour into a jug and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Makes about 3 cups.
Recipe from A Basket By The Door by Sophie Hansen, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99