Sunday, 29 April 2012

Apple and Rhubarb Crumble

Crumble by oysterpots

It's been so cold and wet these past weeks it feels less like spring and more like autumn. So much so, we've been lighting the fire, cooking roast chicken, and tonight we baked this delicious crumble for pudding. 

Crumbles are my very favourite dessert, but I'm quite a fusspot when it comes to the sweet/sharp ratio - I like my pud with a bit of bite. This version hits the spot - the rhubarb is naturally tart, as are the apples, but the two types of sugar temper this just enough. I love warming, wintry spices so I am liberal with my application of cinnamon and mixed spice. If you aren't so keen, just reduce the quantities or leave them out altogether. If you opt for the latter, you might want something else to add a third dimension - I'd add the grated zest of 1/4 lemon or clementine, or perhaps a teaspoon or two of orange flower water mixed in with the fruit in stage 4.

The recipe is a variation on one my grandma used to make. It's seen many iterations, and has been referred to within our family for years. One you can trust, believe me.

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble
Serves 4-6 

250g rhubarb
500g Bramley apples
125g golden caster sugar
1tsp cinnamon
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
75g butter
50g caster sugar
15g demerara sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. 
2. Wash and trim the rhubarb, before chopping into pieces around 1cm thick. Discard any tough ends or stringy bits.
3. Peel, core and slice the apples into pieces about 0.5cm thick.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the 125g caster sugar and cinnamon, before adding the rhubarb and apple. Give it all a good tumble around to make sure the fruit is evenly covered in the spiced sugar.
5. Pour the sugared fruit into a 3 pint ovenproof dish.
6. Sieve the flour and mixed spice into the large bowl from before. 
7. Add the butter, cutting through the mixture with two kitchen knives and/or rubbing the fat into the flour with the very ends of your fingertips. Bash the side of the bowl every so often to bring any large lumps of butter to the surface. When the mixture resembles damp sand, you can stop rubbing and stir in the remaining 50g of sugar.
7. Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit and pat down loosely. Top with the demerara sugar.
8. Cook in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.

Serve hot with plenty of custard or vanilla ice cream (in this house, we can never decide - quite often it's both).

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