Crumble season

Friday, October 16, 2020


Autumn feels like the right season in which to crumble. I suppose the classic is apple and blackberry but coming from a dynasty of crumblers, I can say I've had a fair few courtesy of my grandmother - not all of which I would call a treat. Canned strawberries are not the one. Last year I finally found the recipe, the 'one', the perfect crumble topping which both C and I agree is the pinnacle of crumble toppings. None of the others I have made over the years have quite been perfect, with the very worst being those so-called healthier ones with oats.  The butter has to be cold, cubed straight from the fridge and cannot be substituted with spread. I leave my topping as breadcrumbs but with larger buttery blobs because these melt wonderfully in to the topping. Also, the sugar has to be demerara to give the proper crunch. 

Fruit wise, I stuck to the quantities of fruit but in terms of apples just work with what you have got. I used just windfall cooking apples we picked up locally mostly and once added some unwanted eating apples. To stop them going brown and manky after slicing I mixed a little citric acid and water to mix them through as we didn't have any lemons. I drained off any excess. The addition of sugar and cornflour to the fruit gave it a lovely thick and syrupy quality after cooking and didn't allow for the watery wishywashy bottom that can otherwise result. 
This is before it went in the oven. It took around 45 minutes to cook. Topping must not be pressed down, just gently tipped on, no matter how precariously over-filled it looks.
Most importantly, when it comes out of the oven we left it at least 20 minutes to cool and set before considering spooning out a portion as the topping takes on it's proper crunch. Help yourself too soon and it won't be quite right. Custard was heated and served with it though I admit it was out of a box rather than made from powder. 
Following the departure from blackberry and apple crumbles (though I've still been seeing some healthy looking blackberries, so it may not be too late), our younger rhubarb plants have yielded their first harvest in grand style. I prepped the rhubarb, added the sugar and cornflour and cooked the same. Rhubarb is both springy and autumnal which is unusual really. I also very much enjoy gooseberry crumble but I know it's not for everyone. Our gooseberries aren't that tart and although some are 'sweet' I can eat all from the plant merrily so none can be those traditional sour ones I remember from childhood. 

Take care,

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