It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that I’ve had more apple crumbles than hot dinners.
We always had home-grown apples as kids (still do, in season) and apple with crumble topping is something I very much associate with home.
So how is it, then, that my entry for a roundup of desserts inspired by travel is an apple crumble? For, indeed, this months Sugar High Friday, being hosted by Heather at Diary of a Fanatic Foodie, has travel-inspired desserts as its theme. I guess I have some explaining to do, so here goes…
Picture yourself in the foothills of Nepal, trekking up and down the Himalayan inclines with a rucksack on your back.
You’ll be staying in very humble lodgings along the way – think chicken shed minus the chickens and you get the idea.
The food you’ll get at the end of each day will be simple fare but, when you’ve walked all day at high altitude, believe me, it’ll taste good. Some Western dishes are offered in addition to the local staple of dal bhat, but you largely steer clear of the non-local food, because you know that producing pseudo pizza and such means that your hosts must use additional firewood, which is a scarce commodity in these parts. However… you can’t help but make an occasional exception when the lodges offer decidedly non-local apple desserts. It’s the promise of a taste of home and, when you see a sign advertising “Captain’s Apple Scrumble” you take note. You pass on your way but remember the name that combines apple + scrumptious + crumble and dream for many footsore days about having that dessert until, on the return leg of your trek, you pass that point again and, finally, the scrumble is yours. For the taste of home it brings, it is worth the wait.
On a completely unrelated note, it came to my attention this morning via Twitter, that I appear to have been nominated for these Euro Blog Awards, which was news to me. It’s a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest, but for blogs apparently. Anyway, you can vote for me here if you like, at least until tomorrow, when voting closes (yeah, I know, nobody told me!). Just so long as nobody expects me to sing.
Spud’s Apple Scrumble
Goodness knows what was actually in Captain’s Apple Scrumble, but this is the crumble I made today while reminiscing about it. A few notes:
- I tend to add very little sugar to crumbles and you may care to add more. You’ll certainly want more than I have specified here if your apples are very tart to begin with.
- I normally use cooking apples though today I used some Granny Smith apples, ‘cos that’s what I had and they did nicely.
- The apples always get cooked a bit before they go into the crumble. Now, usually that means stewing them, though I quite fancy the idea of either roasting or caramelizing them a little first instead. I need to work on that idea…
The Crumble Stuff:
- 100g plain flour
- 50g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 25g rolled oats / porridge oats
- 25g flaked almonds
- 25g sugar (I used unrefined demerara)
- pinch of salt
- 4 medium cooking apples (around 700g)
- 25g sugar
- 0.5 tsp cinnamon
You’ll also need:
- Ovenproof dish (mine was a round dish, about 24cm diameter and 3cm deep) plus a saucepan for stewing the apples and a small frying pan for toasting the almonds.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Peel and core the apples and chop into small chunks.
- Place the apples, sugar and cinnamon for the filling in a saucepan with a splash of water. Place over a medium heat just until it starts to bubble, then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or so, until the apples have started to soften. Taste and add more sugar to the apples if you like.
- Toast the flaked almonds lightly in a dry pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently and taking care not to burn the flakes, which can happen easily. It should only take a minute or two for the flakes to turn golden.
- In a large bowl, whisk the salt into the flour and then rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Stir the almonds, oats and sugar into the crumble mixture.
- Add the apples to your ovenproof dish and scatter the crumble mix on top.
- Bake for around 25-30 minutes, until the crumble is golden.
- Eat warm or cold with yoghurt, ice-cream, cream or custard if you fancy.
- Use ground cloves instead of cinnamon, or perhaps a touch of nutmeg.
- Use chopped pecans or walnuts in the topping instead of almonds.
- Enough scrumble for 4, I would say