Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ann's apple (or other tart fruit) crumble

This recipe came from my sister in law. She regularly whips up this dessert if she has fruit to hand. Because she carries the recipe in her head, it's one she can make on family holidays in remote locations.

In 2001, when there was a gathering of the clans on the small Swedish island where my mother-in-law grew up, our summer cottages boasted the bare minimum of culinary equipment, but Ann was able to produce delicious fruit crumbles without turning a hair.

Mine never turn out quite as well as hers, but they're still delicious.

I'll give you the apple recipe first, and then explain what to do if you're using other fruits. The recipe is a little vague - recipes from good cooks often are (they know what they need to do, so it doesn't occur to the that you don't) - but that leaves you room to experiment!

Oven temperature

1 apple per person and one for the dish, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Water or fruit juice - there's no quantity given, but all will become clear
A little cornflour (probably about 10ml or so, more if you're making a large quantity)
Sugar to taste
Spice of choice - in the UK, you'd probably think cinnamon, but in Sweden, they'd be more likely to reach for cardamom. I recommend the latter! It is deee-licious. If you're not accustomed to working with cardamom, in this instance you will need to open the pods and crush or grind the black seeds.
50g sugar
50g flour
100g butter/marg (by now, you know I only use butter), slightly softened but not melted

  • Layer the apple slices in your dish. Sprinkle sugar and spice over each layer. The dish should be about 3/4 full of fruit.
  • Mix the cornflour with a little liquid and pour over the fruit. Add more liquid until the liquid level is about a third of the way up the fruit.
  • Now mix together the sugar, flour and butter to form a dryish dough. You can double the quantities of these ingredients if you're catering for a larger group.
  • Using the largest side of your grater, 'grate' the dough to form worm shapes and spread these over the top of the fruit. If the dough is too soft, pop it in the fridge for a while.
  • Bake until the fruit is soft (test with a sharp knife - always test in the middle, because this will take the longest to cook) and the crumble is golden and crisp.
  • Serve with cream, ice cream or custard (or, if your family is anything like mine: all three!)
If you're using pears, the recipe is exactly the same. If you're using berries, you'll need less liquid and a heavier hand with the sugar.

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