Laura: an epic introduction Part 1.
Hello! I am a messy cook. Jessica (over there, delicately forming sugar cages and perfectly laced peach pies) is worthy of Martha Stewart magazine but alas, I must fully embrace the rustic family-style cooking trend. And yes, during the day I am paid to make things pretty while Jessica is paid for math so I don't know how this happened.
It's not that I don't love a good complex recipe (oh I do! the most!) it's just that after simmering that sauce for four hours I want it in my mouth – damn the presentaion, plate, knives, forks, etc.
Needless to say, the science of baking and I have a complex relationship (leveled cups of flour? ha!). I save 'baking' for a weekend of Julia or Deb role play.
So now then: "Brambley Apple & Blackberry Crumble: when you can't be arsed to make pie."
Pie has its place. I love pie. But there is something about just chucking a bunch of apples, blackberries & topping into a dish then, popping it into the oven for 30 minutes and come out with something so perfect and delicious. Amounts? Times? Ballparks! Simple! Perfect! Delicious! How the fuck did it do that?
Okay so you have to caramelize the apples so the gooey apple-caramel coasts the blackberries. And topping the buttery crumb with clotted cream (whipped, extra thick or creme fraiche will work as well) is required by law. But how else are you going to make the 'best crumble in England'*
To summarize: Pie is great but crumbles are your dirty secret.
*independently validated by a bunch of English people who have eaten more crumble in their lives than you can imagine.
Brambly Apple Blackberry Crumble
(heavily adapted from a BBC recipe, now offline – philistines!)
3 large Bramley apples (use what you can find, tart cooking apples are traditional)
150g/5oz caster sugar (or 150g of granulated sugar)
pinch of cinnamon
A squeeze or two of lemon juice (to taste)
80g/3oz fresh blackberries (looks tiny but trust, there is enough)
100g/4oz unsalted butter, diced
220g/8oz plain flour
100g/4oz caster sugar
1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Peel, core and cut apples into ¼in thick slices (or so they are relatively thin and even)
3. Heat butter in large saucepan. Add apples and gently sauté.
4. Add sugar and cinnamon. Continue stirring until apples are just cooked and the goo is thick and ready to coat the blackberries.
5. Add blackberries & lemon juice and stir very gently until coated with delicious.
6. To make the topping, lightly rub butter into flour and sugar until crumbly.
7. Spoon apples and blackberries into shallow, oval 23cm/9in ovenproof
dish. Sprinkle crumble mixture over top until fruit is covered. I enjoy crumble. I am liberal on this step.
8. Place in oven until light golden brown (usually between 15-40 minutes depending on your oven)
9. Serve with clotted, whipped or heavy cream. Creme fraiche works as well if you like a sour tang... I just wouldn't recommend vanilla ice cream, the flavours clash.