We love to eat Mum’s de­li­cious ap­ple crum­ble

The Guardian - Family - - Family life - 2lb (900g) cook­ing ap­ples 2 tbsp sugar (any kind, but de­mer­ara works well) 1 tsp cin­na­mon 6oz (170g) plain flour 6oz (170g) dark brown sugar (such as mus­co­v­ado) 1 good pinch of salt Ste­vie Rus­sell


3oz (85g) ve­gan mar­garine (plus ex­tra to grease dish

Grease a large casse­role dish, then peel, core and slice the ap­ples into the dish; the slices should be about the size of chunky thumb­nails. Mix in the two ta­ble­spoons of sugar and the cin­na­mon.

To make the crum­ble, sieve the flour into a mix­ing bowl and rub in the mar­garine un­til you get a flaky con­sis­tency. Mix in the dark brown sugar and salt, and spoon the mix­ture evenly over the ap­ples. Bake in a pre­heated oven at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for an hour. Serve hot with cus­tard, cream or ice-cream (or ve­gan equiv­a­lent). In the un­likely event of leftovers, th­ese can be en­joyed cold the fol­low­ing day.

Grow­ing up in the 1960s, I don’t re­mem­ber Sun­day lunch be­ing a big deal in our house. My hard-work­ing Com­mu­nist par­ents were too busy with other ac­tiv­i­ties, or fer­ry­ing us three kids around to mu­sic lessons and other week­end pur­suits, and our grand­par­ents were ab­sent be­cause of death or dis­tance. But this favourite dessert, of­ten served at the week­end, car­ries spe­cial mem­o­ries.

The orig­i­nal recipe came from The Olio Cook­ery Book that my mum got free with her new elec­tric cooker on mar­ry­ing my dad in 1952; the cooker lasted them for at least 30 years. The page with this recipe on was the most used, stained and torn, and cov­ered in Mum’s hand­writ­ten notes. She made so many changes over the years to quan­ti­ties and in­gre­di­ents that this recipe is re­ally her own (my only ad­di­tion is the cin­na­mon). As a child, I loved help­ing to peel and slice the sour Bram­ley cook­ing ap­ples (bought in the green­gro­cer in the high street), and rub­bing the mar­garine and flour be­tween my fin­gers to make the crum­ble. The sweet smell of it bak­ing would fill the house as we ate the bor­ing main course, and when it was taken out and placed siz­zling on the din­ing ta­ble, my broth­ers and I would vie for the best bits: the sticky tof­fee formed by the dark brown sugar that melted around the edges. Dark, soft, moist mus­co­v­ado sugar was def­i­nitely the se­cret of Mum’s de­li­cious crum­ble.

Her ver­sion of the recipe has sur­vived be­cause, aged 11, I copied it into the spe­cial note­book in which I recorded all my favourite recipes for sweets, cakes and pud­dings (in­clud­ing one from Blue Pe­ter). Af­ter Mum’s death in 2001, I was pleased to find this note­book among her things, pre­serv­ing her spe­cial ap­ple crum­ble recipe. I’m not much of a cook my­self, but I love to make this for vis­it­ing friends and fam­ily. I re­cently made one with the help of my young niece, hap­pily crum­bling the flour and mar­garine in her messy fin­gers just like I used to. It al­ways goes down well – es­pe­cially the tof­fee bits.

Ap­ple crum­ble

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