Simple food does not always mean quick to prepare, cook and serve. Simple food for me, is a celebration of natural flavours, seasonal produce, a lack of artifice and loads of love. This apple crumble takes some time to prepare – the apples are peeled, cored and sliced by hand before gently stewing – but the result is worth the time it takes. Granny Smith apples are the best choice with their tartness a real asset when made into a crumble, with its crunchy, sweet topping. There are most likely hundreds of crumble recipes, but this one is our family’s favourite. No rolled oats, no cinnamon, no almonds; just butter, flour, brown sugar and vanilla. With autumn weather bringing cool, crisp mornings, and the daylight hours shortening, the season for warm puddings is at hand. There would be a riot at our place if apple crumble was not accompanied by custard, but it’s also great with just a bit of cream or vanilla ice cream.
1 kg Granny Smith apples
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
100 g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
To make the apples, peel, core and slice each apple into 8 pieces. Place in a medium saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar and water and simmer gently for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft but some still hold their shape. Put into a shallow, ovenproof dish. I use a rectangular enamel dish I picked up somewhere and I love its old-fashioned look. When the apples are done, preheat the oven to 180 C.
To make the crumble, place all the ingredients into a food processor and process until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Spread the topping over the apples and place in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and crisp. Apple crumble is best served straight from the oven, but is also very good when warm.