The best time to think of cooking blackberry and apple crumble is in late summer when wild blackberries are ripe and free for the picking. They have a much fuller flavour than cultivated ones and the best cooking apples are also just coming into season.
However, rather than not enjoying this true classic dish if you can’t gather wild blackberries, it is still delicious made with cultivated ones which are in season now.
The classic crumble topping is made mixing flour, sugar and butter together and then spooning over the blackberries and apples. Just pop in the oven to bake. Oh so good.
225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1¾ cups)
55g (2 oz) butter, cubed (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
55g (2 oz) shortening, cubed (¼ cup)
8 tsp cold water
For the filling
300ml (10 fl oz) water
100g (3½ oz) sugar (½ cup)
450g (1 lb) granny smith apples (about 3 medium)
strip of lemon rind
squeeze lemon juice
28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
For the meringue
2 egg whites
55g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
You will also need a 20.5 cm (8 inch) loose bottomed flan case and a baking tray/sheet.
For the pastry
Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Rub the butter and shortening into the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
Now sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if the water is added unevenly, it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Then, using a pallet knife, bring the mixture together.
Once it starts to clump together, remove from the bowl and knead lightly to form a firm, smooth dough.
Pop in a plastic bag or cover with cling film/plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (225°C) (gas 7).
Now, on a floured surface, roll out the pastry in one direction only, turning it occasionally. Then line the flan case and trim the edges to neaten. Prick the base of the pastry with the tines of a fork to make sure no air gets trapped underneath the pastry.
Bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 300°F (150°C) (gas 3).
For the filling
While the pastry is cooking start preparing the filling.
In a medium-sized pan make a sugar syrup by gently dissolving the sugar in the water over a low heat.
While the sugar in dissolving, peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apples along with the strip of lemon rind and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples have softened but still hold their shape.
Drain the apples and then add the butter. Stir to melt the butter into the apples, mashing them slightly. Now add the egg yolks and mix in.
Once the flan case has cooled, carefully remove the pastry case and sit it on a baking tray/sheet. Fill with the apple.
For the meringue
Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Pile the meringue on top the apple, making sure it completely covers the filling. Finally pull the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The meringue will be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft on the inside.
Apples are cooked with raisins and a hint of cinnamon while walnuts added to the crumble mixture to make this a real crunchy apple crumble. One of those comforting desserts, perfect for a winter’s day, and served with lots of cream.
100g (3½ oz) chilled butter, cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
55g (2 oz) demerara sugar (¼ cup)
Double cream/heavy cream
You will also need a 23cm(9 inch) shallow ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Then place them in a large bowl.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, add to the apples and toss to coat.
Now add the raisins, separating those that may have stuck together, and toss to evenly distribute.
Grease the ovenproof dish and then tip in the apples. Sprinkle over 4 tablespoons of water, cover the dish with foil, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn over the apple slices halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven, turn the slices over again, and set aside for about 1 hour to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), (gas 6).
To prepare the crumble, finely chop the walnut pieces and then set to one side.
Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the walnuts. The mixture should look like large breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar and then spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apples.
Bake for 30 minutes until the crumble is browning and the juices are starting to bubble through.
8 rounded tbsp mincemeat (or, 1 small jar about 250ml (8 fl oz))
1 dessert apple
1 tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp caster/superfine sugar
icing/powdered sugar for dusting
Can be served with whipped cream, thick double cream or ice cream (optional)
Thaw the pastry as directed on the packet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Unroll the pastry onto a large baking sheet. Now mark 4 squares, roughly 12cm (4½ inches), leaving as much space around the squares as the pastry allows. Remove the excess pastry.
Next, using the tip of a knife mark a 1cm (½ inch) border around the edge of each square. Then brush the border with the beaten egg.
Now spoon two rounded spoonfuls of mincemeat onto each square and spread it out, keeping within the border.
Quarter each apple and remove the core. Then thinly slice each quarter and lay the slices in a row over the mincemeat, overlapping them to fit. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and flaky.
Just before serving dust all over with icing/powdered sugar.
A spoonful of cream or ice cream can be dolloped in the centre of each tartlet.
Serve with buttered, baby potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli/broccolini.
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet with a lid for this recipe.
First, warm a plate in the oven.
Then trim any fat from the pork and slice into 2.5cm (1 inch) slices.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Next, quarter, core, and slice the apples (do not peel).
Now heat the oil in a pan and then fry the pork slices over a medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. This will probably need to be done in two or more batches. Once the slices are brown, transfer them to the warmed plate and cover with foil.
Add the onions to the pan, reduce the heat and then gently cook for about 5 minutes to soften.
Stir in the flour until it soaks up all the juices in the pan and then gradually add the stock, stirring continuously, until the sauce is smooth.
Next stir in the mustards and the cream. Add the apples, thyme and seasoning. Return the pork to the pan along with any juices. Stir everything together, cover the pan, and then gently cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.
Apple crumble – a very classic dish. The first dessert I ever made. Here sultanas are added to the apples to make it a little more interesting and also giving it more flavour. Using oats as well as flour for the crumble topping reduces its sweetness too. A very tasty crumble.
You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking tray/sheet for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a large bowl along with the sultanas, sugar, and spice. Toss to mix. Now tip into the ovenproof dish and even out the top.
Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon and sprinkle over the fruit. Then put to one side while making the topping.
For the topping
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the oats. Now rub in the butter. Next mix in the sugar. Spoon over the fruit and lightly press down.
Put the dish on the baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (350°F) (gas 5) and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the juices are bubbling around the edge.
1 tbsp medium or coarse pinhead oatmeal/steel cut oatmeal
You will also need 4 short glass tumblers
Peel, core and chop the apples. Put in a pan with 1 tablespoon water and gently cook for about 15minutes until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and whisk to make the apples fluffy. Leave to cool, about 45 minutes.
Divide the apple between the glasses and smooth the tops.
Stir the yogurt and then spoon on top of the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and add the oatmeal. Cook for a few minutes moving the oatmeal around. Once it starts to brown, it is ready. Set aside to cool.
Just before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal over the yogurt.
Apple strudel is one of the most popular dishes in Austria, the oldest record being a handwritten recipe from 1696 housed in the Vienna City and State Library. However, it’s likely to have been adopted from other countries that made up the Habsburg Empire. Early recipes used a pastry made from unleavened dough and today it’s usual to use filo/phyllo pastry – a modern version. It is delicious served with ice cream, cream, or vanilla sauce.
1kg/2 lb 2 oz tart dessert apples, Granny Smiths are good
1 lemon, juice only
4 tbsp caster sugar/fine white sugar
85g/3 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp sultanas
1 tsp ground cinnamon
85g/3 oz ground almonds*
16 sheets filo/phyllo pastry**
50g/2 oz butter, melted
icing sugar to dust
*The almonds will absorb any excess juices which will prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.
**Filo pastry dries out very quickly. Remove only the number of sheets from the packet that are required for the recipe and keep these covered with clingfilm until needed.
1 large baking sheet, oiled
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples into small pieces. Put them in a mixing bowl and toss together with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, walnuts, sultanas, cinnamon and almonds and mix well. Set aside.
Now to make the four parcels.
Using four sheets of pastry, take one sheet and lay it on a clean tea towel then brush lightly with the melted butter. Place another sheet directly on top and brush this one with butter. Repeat with the other two sheets. Spread a quarter of the apple filling lengthways down the middle of the pastry, flattening it out and leaving a 2.5cm/1 inch border on the shorter edges.
Brush a little butter along the long edge that is furthest away from you and both the shorter edges. Using the tea towel, lift the long edge nearest you over the filling and then continue rolling to form a sausage shape with the seam finishing up underneath. (The extra butter round the edges will seal the parcel.) Carefully transfer it to the baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining sheets of pastry until there are four parcels.
Bake for 40 minutes until golden. Cover the pastry during the last 10 minutes if it is colouring too quickly.
Just before serving, dust the parcels with icing sugar using a small sieve.
Then cut the parcels into thick slices (a pizza slice does this brilliantly). It can be served warm or cold.
An apple pie that is delicious, especially when the apples just come into season. The pie filling literally just contains apples and a little sugar so the full flavour of the apples come through. It has a sweet pastry lid that when cooked is buttery and crumbly. For a mouthwatering finish serve with cream or ice cream.
1.35kg/3 lb Bramley apples/Crispin, Mutsu, or Courtland
110g/4 oz caster sugar/white fine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 egg white, lightly whisked
A 28 x 20cm/11 x 8 inch deep pie dish, sides and rim buttered
A pie raiser, buttered
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cold water together in a small jug and gradually pour onto the flour mixture while mixing in with a palette knife until it starts to form small lumps. Quickly knead by hand to bring the mixture together. Wrap in cling film/cling wrap and chill for at 20 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and let the pastry return to a cool room temperature. Roll it out fairly thinly. Upturn the dish onto the centre of the pastry and use it as a template to cut out the lid, adding an extra 2.5cm/1 inch all the way round. Then cut out a 5cm/2 inch wide strip from the remaining pastry, enough to go round the rim of the dish. Apply this to the flat rim and insides of the dish, pressing into place and making joins where necessary. Put the pie raiser in the middle of the dish.
For the filling, prepare the apples one at a time. Peel, cut into quarters and core. Cut each quarter into four and pile into the dish as you go, sprinkling some sugar between each layer. They should pile up high in the dish which will help to support the pastry lid.
Brush the pastry covered rim with cold water and put on the lid. Crimp the lid and rim pressing together as you work your way round the rim.
Cut 4 slashes in the lid and return the pie to the fridge for another 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/gas mark 5.
Remove the pie from the fridge and brush the surface with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes until pale golden brown.