I know I've written a soliloquy to Sundays before, but yesterday really was the perfect day. I woke up to grey skies threatening to rain, which normally wouldn't make me happy & which I'll no doubt be sick of in a month or so, but which I'm a lot more likely to tolerate on an early October weekend. I worked out for about an hour & half, ending with half an hour of yoga, which I am so bad at doing regularly but which always makes me feel, like, amazing for the entire day. I really should learn to prioritize anything that makes me feel that way. Anyway, after that I had a long, hot shower, then went out into the rain for a pub lunch with my housemates. I haven't been for a pub lunch in a long time, but there really is something magical about it. We all went for big, fat beef burgers with chips, coleslaw, salad & onion rings alongside a midday pint - and left thoroughly full & happy. Afterwards, in that blissed out happy state that only comes of beer during the day and a full, happy stomach, we napped and read and mindlessly scrolled through the internet for a while as the rain fell outside - before my reliable tummy started grumbling again around 5pm.
I've been obsessing over crumble for like, weeks. I've read every crumble recipe the internet has to offer, and I even have a Note on my iPhone with various ideas for crumbles to come. As soon as the days start getting shorter & the cold wind starts to blow, crumble is the only dessert I want to eat. Both my Nan & my Mum made it all the time when I was growing up, but I've never actually made one myself, so it's something I'm eager to master this autumn/winter. And for a first attempt, I was really, really pleased with this.
Though I toyed with adding in plums and pears and all sorts of other things, I kept it simple with just apples & sultanas - and then adding in cinnamon was a no brainer, really. Once it was out of the oven our whole house smelt like cinammon-y-apple-y-baked-goodness for a few hours, and it made the 6pm walk to Morrisons in the rainy dark for unsalted butter totally worth it. I used Gala apples (for the simple reason that they were on offer) which makes this crumble particularly sweet & sugary, but if you'd prefer a more tart taste then go for something like Granny Smiths. The addition of sultanas both bulk up the filling & go perfectly alongside both apple and cinnamon, but of course feel free to omit and add in more apples or replace with raisins/blackberries/pears/whatever if you'd prefer.
Now, technically this crumble is actually a crisp - which I always thought was just the American way of saying "crumble", but it turns out there actually is a distinction between the two! A crumble should have oats in the topping, apparently, whilst a crisp does not. I'm not a massive fan of oats so I chose to omit them, but this topping is still rich, buttery & sufficiently crumbly. In fact, it's probably my favourite crumble topping I've ever tried. I also drizzled some maple syrup over the top of the crumble before placing it in the oven, which then oozed out into the topping giving just an added hint of sticky-sweet-goodness. If you're a big fan of maple syrup feel free to drizzle it on more liberally (as I probably will next time), or just omit it entirely if you're a traditionalist.
As the rain came down persistently against the windows & the cold night drew in, me and my housemates tucked into this curled up with blankets and knitwear in front of the first Harry Potter film. Bliss.
This recipe feeds four. For the filling, you will need:
- Approximately 6 medium apples (adjust according to size of apple/size of dish).
- Approximately 4 large handfuls of sultanas.
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour.
- 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
For the topping, you will need:
- 225 grams of plain flour.
- 100g light brown sugar.
- 125 grams of unsalted butter, cubed.
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (optional - adjust measurement to taste).
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Peel, core & chop up your apples into bitesize chunks, and place them into your dish.
3. Add in as many sultanas as you'd like to bulk up the filling.
4. Add a tablespoon of plain flour, a tablespoon of light brown sugar & a generous teaspoon of cinnamon into the dish, and mix it altogether with your hands until the fruit is thoroughly coated.
5. For the topping, place your flour, sugar & butter into a large bowl, and mix. Rub the mixture between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs, as in the above picture.
6. Using a large spoon, generously sprinkle your topping over your fruit until the fruit is totally covered.
7. Lightly drizzle the maple syrup across the crumble topping. As previously stated, feel free to add as much or as littl of this as you'd like, or just omit it entirely.
8. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the crumble topping is nicely browned & the fruit is bubbling.
Once out of the oven, wait for about 10 minutes or so for the fruit to cool down before serving and, as with most desserts/baked goods/men, this crumble is best enjoyed with a generous helping of double cream. It's the perfect dish to curl up with on a rainy evening - and since we'll be having plenty of those to come, I know I'll be returning to this recipe again.