My Grandma’s Apple Crumble
The recipe for this crumble is a modernised version of my grandma’s crumble recipe. Crumble is one of my absolute favourite puddings and it always brings back memories of Sunday lunches at my grandparents’ house. Grandma’s crumble became slightly infamous when she served it for the first meal my dad had at my grandparent’s house. Granny had forgotten to add any sugar to the home grown plums in the dish and my dad, desperate to make a good first impression, had to pretend the horribly sour crumble was delicious. Since then, crumble has become a family favourite but still remains the butt of many jokes.
I like to give my apple crumble a little extra flavour by adding oats to the crumble mixture and adding spices and lemon zest to the fruit. A crumble is very versatile pudding as you can always add extra flavours like chopped nuts or spices to the crumble. You can also vary the pudding by choosing different fruit and different combinations of fruits, like apples, pears, plums or berries, according to what ever you fancy and whatever is in season.
1 large Bramley cooking apple
4 eating apples
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
grated zest of half a lemon
half teaspoon of ginger
half teaspoon of cinnamon
quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
quarter teaspoon of allspice or ground cloves
300g or 11 oz self raising flour
175g or 6 oz margarine
175g or 6 oz granulated sugar
30g or 1 oz oats
Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan oven)/ 180°C/ Gas Mark 4
To prepare the apples, you need to peel them and cut the Bramley apple into quarters and the eating apples into eighths. To prevent the apples from turning brown if you’re peeling the apples in advance, you need to keep them in some acidulated water, which is just cold water with a squirt of lemon juice. Our neighbour John gave us a whole load of Bramley apples last summer which we peeled, quartered and froze, so I thawed some of these and used all Bramley apples for my crumble.
Once you have apples prepared, toss them in a small pan with the sugar, lemon zest, spices and a tablespoon of water. Simmer this mixture gently, stirring regularly, for about five minutes or until the apples are just tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat and place the apples into the dish which you’re making the crumble in. As I was using thawed apples in my crumble, I found I had a lot extra liquid in the pan once I had cooked the apples, so I just tipped the apples into the dish and simmered the liquid on a higher heat until it had reduced to a caramel like consistency and then poured this over the apples. You need to allow the apples to cool before topping with the crumble.
For the crumble, rub together the flour and margarine using your finger tips. You need really cold butter which is cut into small cubes to make this easier and you need to rub until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. I always favour getting my hands dirty when baking, but if you prefer to use a food processer then feel free to. Mix the sugar and oats into the butter and flour and sprinkle this over the cooked, cooled apples. The crumble is fine to be left at this stage so you can get the crumble ready in advance and then just bake it when you need it.
Bake the crumble in the oven for around half an hour or until the crumble topping is crisp and lightly golden. Serve with custard or cream, and if you’re using plums, don’t forget to add the sugar!