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 😉


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


  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.

Who is Michael Talbot?

michael talbotThis is a question we are commonly asked after adding some of Michael Talbots fine art sculptures to our range of ornaments. I’m delighted to be able to share his biography with you and give you an insight into his passion.

Michael Talbot was born in Staffordshire in 1959, and during his early school years his fascination with clay began. He also developed a love of the human figure which started an interest in life drawing; combining the two set him on a creative journey and a lifelong study of sculpting.

After completing a BA Hons degree in Sculpture, he gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools in London for post graduate study and won the Landseer prize in 1983. Further studies included The Sir Henry Doulton Sculpture School under Colin Melbourne ARCA and Dame Elizabeth Frink RA. Michael was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1997.

Michael is known for creating an original clay sculpture which he then casts into bronze, uniquely finishing and patinating each sculpture. This process allows him to enhance and refine the final image, using his exquisite skills that makes his work so intricate and interesting.

Michael is well known for his beautiful female figures and dancers but recently his work has included more contemporary creations including detailed wildlife sculptures resulting in stunning works of art that will sit comfortably in modern and very traditional environments.

His work can be found in some of the finest galleries throughout the world including: Patrick Lichfield, former chairman of the Arts Council, Lord Gibson and the Nat West Bank, leading politician Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the actress Jamie Winstone, hotelier David Morgan Hewitt as well as recently embarking on exciting new projects with the Royal Ballet and the Supermodel Kate Moss.

We are very privileged to be able to offer Michael’s British Countryside Animal Collection at Pretty Maison; a chance for you to bring a timeless piece of fine art into your home, to be admired and enjoyed for years to come.

Michael still lives in the heart of Moorland National Park, where we hope he continues to delight us with his stunning contemporary sculptures and works of art.