Another fairly universal favourite, a dessert I love very much, and yet very rarely order on the dessert menu: apple crumble. I (almost) never order it because it's so easy to make at home, and have been stung a few too many times by floury cafe crumbles lacking in flavour and/or texture. Do feel free to share your secrets on where to get a good one - but in the meantime, I whipped up a crumble last week so you can check out and critique my method as well. ;-)
One of many great things about crumble as a dessert is that it is super flexible - you can change the fruit for whatever you feel like - apple and rhubarb was common for us growing up; feijoas make a frequent appearance; stone fruits do spectacularly well - and indeed the fruit doesn't even have to be fresh - you can stew it when it's abundant and then chuck the crumbly part on top and bake when the trees stop yielding fruit. Though I have had some fantastic variations I tend to prefer the purist apple version when making my own - and granny smiths are the best!
The ingredient list is pretty simple - apples (or other fruit), lots of sugar and butter, some flour, spices, and the this-is-optional-but-really-lifts-it-up extra - lemon zest. I don't make mine with oats, though again, I've had some wonderful oaty versions.
I chop up the apples - I really like slices, so that each spoonful is a piece of apple with a teeny bit of bite left - not crunchy, but not mush - and throw in a little water (they'll leak a fair bit on their own but the juices in the bottom of the pan are delicious poured over the top once you've dished up), brown sugar, the lemon zest and some cinnamon. Depending on your tastes and the type of fruit you're using you can vary the flavours - flexibility in every step! - and if you're using stewed fruit don't bother with any extra liquid.
For the topping, throw everything in a bowl (or food processor, to make life super easy) and rub it all together. Grating the butter speeds up the rubbing in, though it does make the amount of butter going in look pretty scary. Yikes!
And then just throw the crumble on top of the fruit in an oven-proof dish and bake until golden brown and hopefully bubbling promising-looking syrupy fruit juice up around the sides. Best served with ice-cream (I think) though cream, milk and yoghurt all work too - or you can have it as-is.
Do you prefer your crumble with or without oats? What do you think is the best fruit or fruit combo to have under that buttery goodness?
4 large apples - I prefer granny smith
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
150g butter, grated
Preheat oven to 180 C. Slice the apples, removing core, and place in ovenproof dish. Add sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest and toss together to combine. Add lemon juice and water and ensure the apples are evenly spread in the dish.
Rub together topping ingredients until well combined then use to cover the apples. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and the apples, when speared, are cooked. Serve piping hot, topped with vanilla ice-cream.