There really is nothing better than the combination of hot, sweet, bubbling fruit and a golden, buttery, sandy crust. Whether this takes the form of pie, tart, cobbler or crumble, it’s guaranteed to get my attention. You can keep your fancy French patisserie, your elaborate piped icing swirls and mousses, your spun sugar and mountains of whipped cream, give me a hearty crumble any day.
While a plain apple crumble is a glorious thing, I recently discovered the happy pairing of apple and raspberries by accident, after running out of blackberries and having to substitute frozen raspberries in a cake. I think I actually prefer this to the classic apple and blackberry. Cooked raspberries have an incredibly concentrated fragrant flavour that works so well with the apples. You could, of course, use blackberries or even blueberries. Plus, the berries make the fruit turn a beautiful pink colour in the oven and add lots of delicious tart juice to the mix.
There are a few tricks to the perfect crumble. I like to cut my apples in two different ways, into slices and into cubes, for a more interesting texture when they’re cooked. I use nuts and oats in the topping as well as the flour to add crunch and flavour. Here, I’ve used pecans, because their toffee-butterscotch taste works beautifully with the apples, but hazelnuts and almonds are also excellent. I use demerara sugar for added crunch, and stir in a little cold water to the crumble before topping the fruit, which seems to add texture when it cooks.
You can’t really go wrong with this. It’s a classic, with a few twists to make it even more delicious. Cosy up this autumn with a proper British pudding that celebrates our home-grown fruit.