A Crumble - Heavy Apple Crumble with Proper Traditional Custard by Jessica Elliott Dennison
For me, there’s nothing more comforting than the smell of a crumble baking away in the oven. Who doesn’t love to peek through the glass of the oven door to witness those escapee fruit juices bubbling over onto that buttery, rubble-like crust?
While I firmly believe you shouldn’t mess too much with a classic, I need more from a crumble topping than just butter, flour and sugar. I’m looking for some sort of nutty crunch, in this case flaked almonds that turn golden and crisp. A great crumble has to include some warming spices, too. But, most importantly, there’s got to be plenty of it!
A Crumble- Heavy Crumble
SERVES 6, generously
TAKES 20 minutes, plus 45 minutes baking time
1 teaspoon butter, for greasing
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) apples, peeled,
cored and chopped into bite-sized
chunks (or use ripe pears, rhubarb
stalks or any in-season fruit)
Proper Traditional Custard to serve
100 g (342 oz) cold butter (salted
150 g (5 oz/1/4 cups) plain
heavy pinch of sea salt flakes
12 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 teaspoon ground ginger
14 teaspoon garam masala
50 g (2 oz) flaked (slivered) almonds
75g (242 oz) soft light brown sugar
25g (1 oz) porridge oats
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 First, preheat the oven to 170°C fan (375°F/gas 5) and grease
a deep baking dish or tin (the one I use is 20 x 25 cm/8 x 10 in)
with the teaspoon of butter.
2 Throw the chopped apples into the dish, add a few splashes
of water, and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes to get
a head start on the cooked fruit.
3 Meanwhile, make the crumble topping. Using your index
and middle fingers and thumbs, rub the butter, flour and
salt together in a bowl until the mixture resembles rough
breadcrumbs. Stir in the spices, almonds, sugar, oats and
lemon zest until nicely combined. (Good luck trying not
to eat the raw mixture!)
4 Remove the dish from the oven and scatter the crumble
topping evenly over the apples. Return to the oven and bake
for 45 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown
and the apples are soft. Serve while hot, ideally with a big jug
of Proper Traditional Custard or Five-Minute Crème Fraîche
5 This crumble keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
MAKES 570 ml (1 pint) – enough for 4-8 people (depending
on how much of a custard nut you are) to go with
a whole crumble, ginger cake or chocolate cake
TAKES 20 minutes
300 ml (10 fl oz/1% cups) double (heavy) cream
400 ml (13 fl oz/generous 1/2 cups) milk (ideally
3 egg yolks
45 g (1% oz/scant cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 vanilla pod (bean),
seeds scraped out
pinch of sea salt flakes
1 Pour the cream and milk into a large saucepan
and heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally,
until bubbles start dancing on the surface.
Remove from the heat before it begins to boil.
2 Meanwhile, using a balloon whisk or wooden
spoon, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour
(cornstarch), vanilla paste or seeds and salt
together in a large bowl until completely smooth.
Taking lots of care, pour a few splashes of the
hot cream and milk mixture over the egg mixture,
whisking all the time to ensure your eggs don't
4 Gradually pour the remaining hot cream and
milk mixture into the eggs, continuing to whisk
all the time.
5 Scrape clean the pan. Pour the custard mixture
back into the pan and then heat over a very low
heat, whisking regularly, for 10-15 minutes or
until the custard is thickened to your liking. Make
sure the custard doesn't stick to the base of the
pan as this will prevent any lumps forming.
6 Transfer to a heatproof jug and enjoy hot or cold.