Although I’ve been baking quite a bit at uni, I haven’t been posting my recipes as much as I’d do at home so I decided to dedicate the time and do one now!
Fall is my favourite season and for me in terms of baking, means flavours like apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar, all together in lovely pies or warm crumbly loaves. For my housemates the other week I baked some amazing chicken and leek pies (which I’ll redo and upload on here another time as they were absolutely to die for!), and then for dessert whipped up a beautiful golden sugar apple crumble.
It was my first attempt at making one completely from scratch and I was so surprised at how easy it was! I love how you can peel the apples then leave them simmering away with a couple of sticks of cinnamon in a pan for half an hour while getting on with the rest of dinner or other chores. So handy for busy schedules and multitasking! I used granny smith apples in this recipe because they’re my favourite, so crisp and sharp, but also because of the name; Granny Smith reminds me of a little old grandma in an apron cooking you a homemade meal and the whole house smelling like baking. It’s such a homey image in my head!
However you can also use cooking apples as they’re also very flavourful and perfect for home baking- I actually used cooking apples in my second attempt and the taste was just the same.
Anyway, here is my ridiculously easy method which can be adapted by using different fruits but I’d make sure you take care with their stewing times as you don’t want them to go overly soft at the beginning!
- 6 Granny Smith apples (cooking apples also work)
- 250g butter
- 300g flour
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Whole nutmeg (needs to be grated)
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 50g demerara/golden caster sugar for topping
Wash and peel all of your apples, then dice them into small chunks. Dispose of the peel (I like to eat mine as I go along with the rest of the recipe) and then place the apple chunks into a medium sized saucepan with a lid.
Add 200g of the sugar plus the cinnamon stick broken in half, half of the ginger, and grate a good amount of the nutmeg- I try to make sure that each side of exposed apple has some on it.
Let the apples stew at a low heat for 30 minutes until the fruit has softened, making sure to stir every 5 minutes to avoid burning. Don’t add any water to the apples as their juices combine with the sugar and make a lovely sweet syrup as they cook.
Remove from the heat, pick out the cinnamon sticks and then mash the apples softly. Be careful not to over-work as you don’t want them to have zero consistency! Transfer to a pyrex or similar baking dish and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the crumble itself. Combine the flour and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add the rest of the ginger and some more nutmeg for flavouring. Then, cut up the butter and add little by little, pinching and rolling the mixture between your fingers to get the crumble consistency. It’s easier to use a very large bowl and only add small amounts of the sugar each time otherwise you won’t have much room to work in.
Once you’ve worked your crumble mixture, add it to the stewed apples. I find it good to use the same pinching/rolling method when spreading the crumble over the top of the fruit to make sure that you’re not clumping up the mixture while transferring it. Make sure you spread the crumble evenly then press down lightly to ensure it keeps together in a nice layer. Then you can sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the top; you can use Demerara or golden caster sugar for this part.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. When it’s ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving with warm custard or ice cream. For a homemade custard recipe, see my Custard Tarts blog post here or you can just buy Ambrosia which is my favourite shop-bought custard!
I hope you try out this recipe as it’s so simple to make and really tastes amazing, perfect for this cold dark months!