Posted on Friday, 5th October 2012 by Grace Massa Langlois
I thought I would ring in the fall season with a simple British classic, apple crumble. I can’t believe fall is already upon us I’m already missing and longing for the return of summer. It’s not that I dislike the fall season quite the opposite in fact. I love fall especially the changing of the leaves, all those beautiful colours, reds, oranges, and golds. I even enjoy the cooler nights especially cozying up in front of a roaring fire.
I particularly enjoy heading to the market, stands are piled high with squash, there’s an abundance of herbs, and pears, lots and lots of apples and of course, hot apple cider. What is it about the fall I dislike? Fall is invariably a short prelude to the winter season, falling temperatures and snow, lots of it! I despise winter, in fact I’m like the bears, I go into hibernation.
Thankfully my husband was the opposite or my children may have inherited my extreme dislike for the winter season and all that comes with it (snowmobiling, snowboarding, snowshoeing etc.). My husband grew up in Northern Ontario where the temperatures can drop to minus 5° C (40° F), the snow crunches when you walk on it and if you don’t use a block heater your car may not start in the morning.
I’ll never forget my first trip to Cochrane (Northern Ontario); it was in the early part of September 1989. We’d barely said goodbye to summer in Southern Ontario. It was one of the only trips we took by air. I can remember starting the descent and turning to Moe (my late husband) and saying, “Moe I think it’s pouring rain, we’re going to get soaked making our way across the tarmac.” I’ll never forget the look on his face when he glanced out the window. He took hold of my arms and he said, “Grace, brace yourself, that’s not rain it’s snow and lots of it.” I couldn’t believe it, as I looked down at my summer dress I thought now what?
As we walked down the stairs of the plane I looked back at Moe and he was grinning. I was just about to unleash the wrath when he said, “look” as he pointed to his father. If he was trying to make me feel better he wasn’t doing a very good job because his father wasn’t just smiling he was laughing out loud. What I didn’t see? Pépère came prepared with parka in hand and the first thing he said to me was, “city girl, I knew you wouldn’t come prepared.” He was so right; in fact, to this day I’m never prepared for winter.
I think the only thing I like about the season is the food. Winter fruits like persimmons, pears, tangerines and apples are my favourite. I love stews and braised meat dishes with lots of winter root vegetables. These types of dishes warm you up from the inside out just like this apple crumble.
I started the crumble filling with a light caramel and flavoured the filling with vanilla, Calvados (apple brandy), cinnamon and just a touch of nutmeg. Usually I peel the apples, this time I didn’t, why? I picked up a great tip from Gordon Ramsay, “the flavour is in the skin”. I urge you to try it the next time you make an apple crumble. According to Gordon the same is true with pears, plums and peaches.
To jazz up the crumble topping I added some homemade fruit and nut granola. I prepared the granola with a mixture of rolled oats, pecans, walnuts, almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. The nutty granola gives the topping a crispy, crunchy texture making it the perfect contrast to the tender and flavourful apples.
Crumbles may be simple to make but they are delicious and they are the best way to celebrate fruit when it’s in season. And when it comes to apple crumbles, the intoxicating aroma of baked apples and cinnamon wafting throughout the house, it’s the best!
Happy Weekend and to all my Canadian Visitors, Happy Thanksgiving!
Apple Crumble with Homemade Fruit and Nut Granola Topping
- Homemade Fruit and Nut Granola
- Apple Crumble Filling
- Crumble Topping
Homemade Fruit and Nut Granola
- 240 g (3 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 54 g (½ cup) unsalted sliced almonds
- 75 g (½ cup) unsalted walnuts, chopped
- 50 g (1/3 cup) unsalted pecans, chopped
- 30 g (¼ cup) raisins
- 30 g (¼ cup) dried cranberries
- 60 ml (¼ cup) honey
- 60 ml (¼ cup) maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon sugar or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 160° C (325° F). Line rimmed baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Place rolled oats, almonds, walnuts, pecans, raisins and cranberries in a large bowl. Stir to combine well.
- In liquid measuring cup, stir together honey, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon sugar and salt.
- Gradually pour the honey mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring to well combine.
- Spread the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 35 minutes.
- 94 g (¾ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 24 g (2 tablespoons) demerara sugar
- 113 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons fruit and nut granola, homemade or store-bought
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar and cinnamon.
- Add cubed butter; rub mixture together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the granola; mix until combined well.
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to assemble crumbles.
Apple Crumble Filling
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay
- Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing ovenproof dishes
- 98 g (7 tablespoons) caster (superfine) sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 546 g (about 1¼ pounds or 3 medium) Honey Crisp apples (skin on)
- 546 g (about 1¼ pounds or 3 medium) Granny Smith apples (skin on)
- 23 g (3 tablespoons) cranberries
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from one-half lemon
- 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
- Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). Line rimmed baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Using pastry brush, grease ovenproof dishes with softened butter and transfer to baking sheet.
- Using box grater, grate three of the apples (I use one and one-half of each variety) and cut the remainder in chunks.
- Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the sugar; cook, without stirring, swirling the skillet occasionally, until a light amber colour is achieved, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla seeds and give the skillet a swirl (do not stir). Add the grated apple, stir to combine and cook over high heat until almost a purée, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the apples chunks and cranberries. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and calvados. Bring to the boil and cook, about 4 minutes.
- Immediately spoon apple filling into prepared ramekins. Top with crumble mixture.
- Bake until apples are tender and topping is golden, about 20 to 30 minutes (I cook my crumble on the longer side because my kids prefer the fruit more tender).
- Remove from oven and serve warm with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Buon Appetito!
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Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, almonds, baked desserts, Calvados, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, fruit crisp, fruit crumble, individual dessert, individual desserts, quick and easy desserts, quick desserts, quick easy desserts, winter desserts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes