I have never tried a candied apple or a toffee apple. I’d always turn to take a fresh, crunchy bite out of the real thing. If I don’t bite away on a real apple, my absolute favourite is the baked sort. Some times with rums and raisins but when it comes to custard and crisp topping I can leave a bit of my heart with you. It’s called a crumble, apple and red currant crumble.
I imagined myself writing about the Great British Apples after a walk at a Kentish orchard. Alas this little dream of mine will have to wait a bit. Amongst the many apple varieties that grow on this land, a good crumble needs some large, tart bramley apples that can be found any time of the year.
There is no easier dessert than a crumble and you would think this humble dessert would be on the menu of every other restaurant in central London. Well, I was mistaken there.
Past March, a friend visited from Athens. We were strolling the center all day long. Both of us keen strollers, this was not your casual walk, it was more let’s criss-cross London in half a day sort of Marathon. We met on the Sunday flower market at Columbia road, after a quick coffee and a lot of chatting we got going down to colourful Bricklane. We might have had a pit stop for Pad thai and then on to the maze of the City skyscrapers. Down by the river bank, we strolled along Tower bridge, dodging pigeons and seagulls and headed to the west end. The streets of Soho teem with vibrant people and the area certainly doesn’t fall short of pubs and restaurants. But guess what? There was nowhere a crumble to be found!
Apple and red currant crumble
- 4 green cooking apples
- 3-4 stalks of red currants
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 100 gr plain flour
- 75 g butter
- 50 g rolled oats
- 100 g demerara sugar
- 570 ml double cream, single cream or milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 50 g golden caster sugar mixed with 1 level dessertspoon of cornflour
- 1 dessertspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
- After you clean your apples, cut them into quarters, removing cores and slice each piece in two. Put them into a pan and add a sprinkling of sugar. Add a tablespoon of water and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the apples start to soften.
- Transfer the apple mixture to a shallow ovenproof pie dish along with the rinsed red currants.
- Blend the flour and butter in a food processor for a few seconds, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. You can quickly do this by hand, swiftly using the tips of your fingers so you don’t overwork and warm the butter.
- Stir in the oats and the brown sugar and sprinkle over the cooked apples in the pie dish.
- Transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden-brown on top.
to make the custard
- Place the cream in a small pot and bring to a simmer over a gentle, stirring occasionally.
- While the cream is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, and the vanilla in a medium bowl. Keep whisking the egg mixture and gradually pour the hot cream into the bowl. Return the whole lot back to the saucepan with the help of a rubber spatula.
- Now back it goes on to the same gentle heat as you continue whisking until the custard is thick and smooth, which will happen as soon as it reaches simmering point.
- To serve it warm later, sit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
Zoe, this apple and red currant crumble is for you and all of you who love a fruit bake with a rich helping of custard. No-one should ever be left craving for crumble!
from London with love,