I am really trying to only eat seasonal fruit and vegetables – with obvious exceptions like bananas and *pak choi which ain’t never going to be in season, not in any place near Manchester anyway! Even with the food from afar I am making an effort to eat less of it and seeing it as a treat and not my mainstay, as it were. It is hard though! There isn’t much to choose from at this time of year. One fruit that is in season now, and has slightly fallen out of fashion I feel, is the brilliant Bramley apple. It is tart, very much so, and requires the addition of a sweetener to make it work in a dessert (indeed, its tartness is just what makes it perfect for apple sauce to go with pork). But it’s so much nicer than a dessert apple in a pudding, I think. And it’s a must if you are going to make an apple crumble.
This crumble is of the healthy-ish variety (it still has lots of butter in it!), but you won’t notice its health qualities when eating it. Hopefully you’ll just appreciate the crunchy, toasty seeds, caramelised oaty bits, and more earthy, rounded flavour provided by the wholegrain flour. I salute Amber Rose of Love Bake Nourish (current cookbook obsession) for providing the inspiration here (I heavily adapted a crumble topping recipe from the book).
It’s pudding making of the extremely easy variety, perfect for my severely tired state. It would be a great pud if cooking dinner for more than a few people. My 8 month old loves it, I simply pick out any large seeds after mushing it up with a fork. Serve with Greek yoghurt for a less fatty counterpoint than cream (cream would be lovely too though – or homemade custard if you have the time and inclination).
*Adam tells me that pak choi can be, and is often actually grown in the UK, so that’s told me! You learn something every day…
To make a large crumble which would easily serve 8-10
200g salted butter
200g wholegrain spelt flour
50g ground almonds
150g demerara sugar (unrefined if possible) plus more for sprinkling on top
150g rolled oats (jumbo if possible)
100g mixed seeds (I used 50/50 sunflower and pumpkin)
3 very large bramley apples (or more small ones), peeled and sliced into roughly 1cm pieces
2 handfuls of sultanas
5 tablespoons of maple syrup (or use honey, or a generous sprinkling of demerara sugar)
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Pulse your butter and flour in a food processor. If you don’t have one, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Mix your other ingredients in – don’t pulse, just mix by hand or you’ll grind the oats and seeds and you don’t want that!
- Slice your apples and place in a large (mine was 25cm x 30cm) baking dish. Scatter over sultanas and syrup and mix.
- Top with crumble – there is a lot here so you may have some left over if your dish is smaller than mine. You can freeze it though. Sprinkle a little extra demerara on top.
- Bake in an oven for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Check it towards the end as the seeds can burn, as mine did a little, which actually gives it a wonderful toasty edge. But don’t let them burn too much!