Blackberry & apple crumble
Where I was brought up in the country there were endless hedgerows and we always picked blackberries from them. About 14 years ago I really overdid things when making Location, Location, Location and I got a mild form of pneumonia. I took ten days off work and went to my parents’ house in Dorset. There was just me and my border terrier Foxy, so I began my recovery by watching the first three series of West Wing back to back. I also went on long walks and picked blackberries – loads of them – and made lots of lovely things, including blackberry vodka, blackberry jam and jelly, and blackberry and apple crumble. These days, however, a family berry-picking expedition with the four boys means we rarely make it home with a single blackberry, so we end up eating apple crumble. SERVES 700g Cox’s apples, cored and cut into wedges 300g blackberries juice of 1 orange 1 tsp ground mixed spice 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar FOR THE TOPPING 175g plain flour 100g butter, chopped 50g light brown soft sugar, plus an extra tablespoon for sprinkling 50g regular rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6.
Put the apples in a bowl with the blackberries, orange juice, mixed spice and sugar. Mix well then spoon into a shallow ovenproof dish.
To make the topping, put the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and oats, then spoon the mixture over the fruit in a thin layer. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the crumble.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit underneath it has softened. Serve with custard.