How to make the best Apple & Blackberry Crumble!

What a wonderful time of year Autumn is.  The hedgerows are full of ripe blackberries and the trees are laden with juicy apples; it’s the perfect time to try your hand at making England’s favourite pud!

I’m happy to say that, having found this recipe, I’m a crumble convert! The crunchy topping is simply delicious, occasionally I add a handful of mixed nuts and seeds to the crumble mixture to give it a little je ne sais quoi and change it up a bit!

Cooking the two elements separately is new to me but definitely my preferred method from now on.  I’ve even got adventurous with the fruit and added blueberries and raspberries to the mix, after all I’m sure this counts towards my 5 a day (or is it 7 now?)!

Have a go and make use of what nature does best, you’ll certainly earn yourself some brownie points in the cooking department and they will be calling you Nigella in no time 😉

Ingredients

For the crumble topping
  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces

For the fruit compote

  • 300g apple – preferably Braeburns!
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 115g blackberries
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • vanilla ice cream or piping hot custard to serve

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
  2. Pop 120g of plain flour and 60g of caster sugar into a large bowl. Add 60g of unsalted butter, then rub into the flour using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture. Do not overwork it or the crumble will become heavy and a processor can make the crumbs so fine you end up … with a cakey rather than crumbly texture.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until lightly coloured.
  4. Meanwhile, for the compote, peel, core and cut 300g Braeburn apples into 2cm dice.
  5. Put 30g of unsalted butter and 30g of demerara sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Cook for 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel.
  6. Stir in the apples and cook for 3 mins. Add 115g of blackberries and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, and cook for 3 mins more.
  7. Cover, remove from the heat, then leave for 2-3 mins to continue cooking in the warmth of the pan.
  8. To serve, spoon the warm fruit into an ovenproof gratin dish, top with the crumble mix, then reheat in the oven for 5-10 mins. Serve with vanilla ice cream or piping hot custard and enjoy 🙂

Recipe courtesy of BBC Food.

Are you ready for Bonfire Night?

Remember remember the 5th of November!

Make sure your Bonfire Night party gets off to the right start with my favourite tried and (very much) tested home made toffee apples. (Courtesy of BBC Good Food Guide).

toffee apples

Home Made Toffee Apples

  • 8 Granny Smiths Apples
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  1. Place the apples in a large bowl, then cover with boiling water (you may have to do this in 2 batches). This will remove the waxy coating and help the caramel to stick (incredibly important!). Dry thoroughly and twist off any stalks. Push a wooden skewer or lolly stick into the stalk end of each apple.
  2. Lay out a sheet of baking parchment and place the apples on this, close to your stovetop. Tip the sugar into a pan along with 100ml water and set over a medium heat. Cook for 5 mins until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the vinegar and syrup. Set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 140C or ‘hard crack’ stage. If you don’t have a thermometer you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squish the toffee, continue to boil it.
  3. Working quickly and carefully, dip and twist each apple in the hot toffee until covered, let any excess drip away, then place on the baking parchment to harden. You may have to heat the toffee a little if the temperature drops and it starts to feel thick and viscous. Leave the toffee to cool before eating. Can be made up to 2 days in advance, stored in a dry place.

A really nice ending to a wonderful evening is to hand out small gifts, and what better gift than showing off your clever culinary skills! Bonfire night just wouldn’t be complete with out Bonfire toffee! Another of my favourite recipes is below, this is a really easy recipe, great for those starting out in toffee making!

bonfire toffee

Home Made Bonfire Toffee (also know as Plot Toffee)

  • 4oz (100g) butter
  • 8oz (200g) sugar
  • 4oz (100g) treacle
  • 4oz (100g) golden syrup

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. When melted stir in the sugar, syrup & treacle.
  3. Boil steadily without stirring until the mixture reaches the ‘hard crack stage’. To test this simply drop a teaspoonful of the hot mixture into a saucer of cold water. If the toffee starts to harden then it’s ready. If it doesn’t, keep boiling and testing it until this stage is reached. The longer you boil the mixture the harder the toffee will become, but keep the heat at medium so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Once ready pour the toffee mixture into a lightly greased baking tray and leave to cool.
  5. Once cool, break into pieces with a toffee hammer and serve or wrap in cellophane bags to give as a gift.

Remember take extra care as the mixture will be extremely hot.