Well hello! It has been a while, I know - slackness is not normally tolerated.
As the summer fades and autumnal winds and rains are upon us, so to have the berries and fruits of summer moved on. The decadent sponges and refreshing citrus endeavours have blossomed into hearty warming puddings and oven baked goodies.
Sometimes I like to experiment, other times I just want crumble.
For this recipe I tend to make about the same amount of crumble topping mixture - whether it is to coat one lonely apple or a scrumping of 50. More apples, thiner topping, that is all. And if there is left over topping, it will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for a week or so, and can be made into another crumble or, with a little extra butter and egg, into lovely biscuits...
This recipe serves 4-6 people and you can omit spices / additions if you like - but it won't taste as nice!
Ingredients for the apple bit
2 large cooking apples
Juice of 1 lemon
150g golden caster sugar
tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground nutmeg
50g of finely chopped pecans
Ingredients for the crumble topping bit
200g plain flour
100g ground almonds
150g golden caster sugar (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top)
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4.
Peel, core and dice the apple into pieces of whatever size you would like to eat. The smaller the pieces the quicker it will cook, but equally, the less 'appley' it will be, in terms of texture.
Place the apple pieces in to the bottom of a medium pyrex dish, or something similar - like a pie dish or a stoneware and spread them out evenly - but not organised, just so they are relatively level.
Squeeze the lemon over the apples - this brings out some of the flavour and also prevents them from going brown as they cook.
Sprinkle the golden caster sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans over the apples.
In a large mixing bowl, place the flour and ground almonds. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour. With the tips of your fingers, work the butter through the flour, taking caution and as gently as you can, until the mixture resembles a thick breadcrumb. Because of the high butter content, this mixture will not go to fine breadcrumbs and, indeed, it doesn't need too. It isn't a cake!
Add the caster sugar and stir in.
Add the oats and combine for a minute or so.
Before adding the flour onto the apples, pour a little cold tap water onto the apples, to give them some juice to cook in - a couple of tablespoons ought to do it - depending on how many apples you have.
Pour the flour / oat mixture over the apples and spread lightly until level. I don't like to the pack the apples in, so I just let the flour mixture do what it likes. Some people like to press the mixture down and then mark it with a fork, but I think this makes the apples go all thick, like they've been cooked on the hob, but I like them to be a little crunchy.
Sprinkle a little extra sugar over the top and place the dish in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until pipping hot and golden brown on top.
Serve with custard / ice cream / cream / yogurt (delete where appropriate)