THE HUMBLE APPLE CRUMBLE
(enough for four)
for the filling
• 850gr cooking apples
• half a lemon
• 75gr sugar
• 30gr golden caster sugar
for the crumble
• 95gr butter
• 150gr plain flour
• 45gr golden caster sugar
1. Peel and core the apples, cut them into plump chunks (about 2cm on each side) and toss them with the juice of the lemon half and the caster sugar.
2. Melt the butter in a shallow pan over a frisky heat. When it starts to sizzle, tip in the apples and sugar and let the fruit colour lightly. It is essential not to move the apples around too much. Let the sugar caramelise here and there, so the fruit is golden in patches. There should be a faint smell of toffee. Stir them gently.
3. Lift the apples out and put them into a baking dish, about 1.5 litres in capacity, together with the pan juices. If there are any sticky bits in the pan, add a dash of lemon juice or water and stir until they dissolve. Tip amongst the apples. Set the oven at 180ºC.
4. Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips (you could happily use a food processor here). When the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, stir in the sugar. Add a tablespoon of water, shake the crumble mixture till some of it sticks together in gravel-sized lumps, then tip it over the apple. Bake for forty-five to fifty minutes, till lightly coloured.
Nigel Slater, Tender Volume II
There was a rich chocolate cake in the oven, some apples sitting bored in a bowl as they had been for the past week, begging to be used, and my incomprehensible urge to always make more than one dessert, however many people are coming for supper and however much food there might be.
I wanted to make something simple, not too sweet and Nigel Slater´s Tender was waiting for me, with his version of the ultimate classic apple dessert: the humble apple crumble. Humble it may be, yet there aren't many things you can make in the kitchen which will give you more satisfaction with less work.
In the introduction to this recipe, which Nigel calls "A deeply appley apple crumble", he debates on which kind of apples give the perfect texture he is looking for in his ultimate crumble. In our case, we were lucky or unlucky, depending on how you look at it because we were not faced with the problem of choosing between too many good things. We had reinettes, which are what you can usually find over here and that is what we used.
You can even time the whole process so that it bakes while you are having the rest of supper. That way, the crumble will be warm and bubbly by the time dessert time arrives. A dollop of cold and tangy creme fraîche is all you need to make this a complete dessert.
As you can imagine, neither the rich chocolate cake, nor the crumble was finished that night, but sweet leftovers make for a fancy Sunday breakfast along your everyday toast, so no complaints!