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The Apple Of My Dreams

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…

Apple crumble

The stuff of crumbly, apple-filled dreams

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.

euro blog awards

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.

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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
The Filling:
  • 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.
The Steps:
  • 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.
The Variations:
  • Use ground cloves instead of cinnamon, or perhaps a touch of nutmeg.
  • Use chopped pecans or walnuts in the topping instead of almonds.
The Results:
  • Enough scrumble for 4, I would say


  1. Jenni

    First of all, you need a costume for the Eurovision deal. Start with flower pots. Spray paint them bright white and then cover them with opalescent glitter. That’s a start, anyway!

    The crumble/scrumble looks wonderful. And with that story, it more than fits the category of travel-inspired desserts.

    I voted:) I hope you’ll decide to sing…

  2. jenn

    Congrats on the nomination!!! (I voted for you!!)

    If you’ve got anymore, I’d like slice of that apple crumble please. =) yum!

  3. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    The apple crumble sounds excellent! Congrats on the nomination! You have my vote!

  4. Heather

    what wonderful and delicious memories! i love apple crumble!

  5. Jamie

    Love the story and love apple crumble! This looks delish and hubby would love it if I made some.

  6. ToastedSpecial

    Nice recipe Spud, glad to see you add bit of spice to your crumble. I’ve tasted crumble without the spice and it doesn’t do anything for me. I use a bit of mixed spice in mine, give it a try.

  7. mgh

    My mind flicks from Captain’s Apple Scrumble to Snickers bars for some strange reason…

  8. Daily Spud

    Jenni: gosh, costume, I hadn’t even thought of that – right, I’m offer to glitter up and do my vocal exercises :)

    jenn: I have a little bit left, what’s your address? :)

    Natasha: thank you!

    Heather: yeah, it was quite a trip and for more reasons than just the apple scrumble (there was a rather memorable foot-breaking incident too) but the scrumble has always stuck in my brain

    Jamie: thanks and, as you can tell, I love it myself :)

    ToastedSpecial: hey, thanks for dropping in – always nice to welcome another Irish food blogger :) and absolutely yes to spice in the crumble, the mixed spice sounds good to me

    mgh: ah yes, snickers bars, the trekkers fuel of choice…

  9. Stacey

    This sounds soo good! Oh, I know, with some homemade vanilla ice cream on top!!

  10. Kelly

    I love these kinds of desserts, and I LOVE apples. I find baked fruit desserts so homey and comforting! The oat and almond topping would be nice and hearty with the fruit. What a wonderful recipe.

  11. OysterCulture

    Congrats on the nomination – well deserved!

    The crumble sounds yummy – I have a friend who just had a baby and this recipe sounds like just the thing to make and bring over.

  12. laura

    What a wonderful photo and story. Almonds + apples does equate to scrumptious in my book. Congrats on the nomination!

  13. noble pig

    Apple scrumble is by far the best title I’ve ever heard! Nice.

  14. The Duo Dishes

    A scrumble. Lovely! The almonds are a great crunch. We’ll take this with a bit of vanilla ice cream stat. Congrats on your nom!

  15. The Diva on a Diet

    Wow, what a beautifully written post. I feel like I was right there with you. Lovely! The Scrumble looks magnificent too. Love the nutty topping.

    HUGE Congrats on your nomination, Spud. Outstanding and well-deserved!!! :)

  16. Tangled Noodle

    Aaarrrggghhhh! I think I missed the voting deadline – I clicked on the link above and it took me to the list of nominees but they in turn led back to the websites! I could kick myself for not reading your new post earlier. Hmph!

    It may be just as well – I might’ve stuffed the ballot box and someone would cry foul. Still, I’ll be rooting for you! You are ON this year – another huge nomination. Go for the second win!

    This scrumble does look scrumptiously crumbly! The first time I had anything similar (apple crisp, hereabouts) I was hooked, especially when it was hot out of the oven and featuring a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. Your recipe and story are perfect for Sugar High Friday!

  17. greg

    A scumble! Such a happy word, no wonder they reserved it for an apple darling like this one! GREG

  18. Angry Brit

    I love apple crumble only slightly more than apple pie and that’s mainly because it’s easier. The only downside, as far as I can see, is that it’s nigh impossible to find Bramley apples in this here United States. And I always like them best in apple dishes. Sigh.

    Congrats on the nomination! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  19. Daily Spud

    Stacey: you bring the homemade vanilla ice cream, I’ll bring the crumble, ‘k? :)

    Kelly: mmm yes, most definitely homey & comforting

    OysterCulture: thanks & if you make some, hope that you (& friends) enjoy!

    laura: thanks! I almost always put oats in crumble but the almonds were a new addition and definitely a keeper.

    noble pig: I’ve loved the name ever since I first heard it

    Duo Dishes: thanks you two, scrumble and ice cream comin’ up on the double!

    Diva: aw, thank you so much, very sweet of you to say so

    Tangled Noodle: not to worry, TN, I got enough votes to make me a finalist (woohoo!) and now the judges take over again – looks like I’ll be sending them lots of scrumble and vanilla ice cream, hungry work is judging :)

    Greg: it is a decidedly happy and joyous word, I like it a lot

    Angry Brit: thank you! And I’m with you on using bramleys for things like this – a real pity that they’re hard to come by Stateside :(

  20. Reeni

    Congrats on being nominated! Apple crumble is one of my all-time classic favorites. I love double crumbs on mine. Your looks scrumptious!

  21. OysterCulture

    It was delicious and a hit. Maybe it was the soothing smell of cinnamon, but the baby slept contentedly the entire time.

  22. Daily Spud

    Reeni: thanks! It’s a classic and a favourite here too :)

    OysterCulture: oh, so glad to hear that and there is, indeed, something very soothing about cinnamon – I now have a lovely picture of crumble-induced contentment in my head

  23. Sapuche

    I second that aaaaarghh feeling. I came across this post a bit late, and when I went to the Euro blog page I was unable to cast my vote. My time management skills need a serious overhaul, unfortunately. In any event, I hope you win!

    I’m a huge fan of anything “crumble,” and apple crumble is definitely high on my list. I enjoyed your description of the delayed gratification for this dessert in Nepal, too. You’ve managed to inspire both a craving and wanderlust simultaneously! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  24. LizC

    I just saw your tweet about the Euro blog award today (been slaving in the salt-mines) and am too late to vote. Boo hoo. Hoping you are top of the scoreboard.

  25. zerrin

    oh no! I missed the voting time too. I hope you’ll win.
    And these apple crumble looks fantastic! I know the beautifying effect of apple and sure it will work more with this combination.

  26. Sophie

    MMMMM….apple crumble!!! is there any better dessert? I love my crumbles served with home made hot custard!!! This is pure lovelyness, my dear friend!!

  27. Daily Spud

    Sapuche: no worries, I got enough votes to get me to the final plus crumble always gets my vote too :)

    Liz: made it almost all the way to the top!

    zerrin: thanks and I could certainly eat cooked apple in any number of ways, it’s such good stuff

    Sophie: oh with custard for sure – the ultimate comfort dessert!

  28. Beth Tonnard

    Dear ‘The apple of my dreams’
    I am a year 1O student at Chilton Trinity Technology College in bridgwater and i’m studying DiDA. I am currently creating a meal card in publisher and i would like to use your image? if that’s possible? no one would see this image other than the moderator.
    could you get back to me as soon as possible please?

    yours sincerely.
    beth tonnard.

  29. Daily Spud

    Hi Beth, I don’t foresee a problem with that but will reply to you directly in any case.

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