This au­tum­nal twist on a clas­sic ap­ple crum­ble is a hit with young­sters and adults alike, writes Vic­to­ria Holtam

Canal Boat - - Contents -

When the weather turns bad, is an ything quite so good at ban­ish­ing the au­tumn blues as the con­fort­ing ap­ple crum­ble? But here’s one with an ex­tra twist

Hal­loween seems to be tak­ing over these days and there is no doubt that chil­dren love carv­ing pump­kins and the glut of sweets from trick or treat­ing with their friends. How­ever, it was Bon­fire Night that we used to cel­e­brate as kids and fire­works and a blaze are still No­vem­ber es­sen­tials for our house­hold.

My in-laws have lots of ap­ple trees in their gar­den. Most are ‘eaters’ but they have a cou­ple of cook­ing ap­ple trees too and we are al­ways grate­ful for any do­na­tions. When the weather turns cold and the nights draw in, I find my­self dig­ging out the recipes for com­fort­ing desserts, and few things are as easy to knock up, or as ef­fec­tive at ban­ish­ing those rain-sod­den Au­tumn Blues, as a nice ap­ple crum­ble.

This recipe has a ‘tof­fee ap­ple’ twist us­ing dried dates (which chil­dren gen­er­ally love) and a lit­tle boost from some caramel syrup more usu­ally used for posh cof­fees.

The tra­di­tional crum­ble top­ping is also tweaked with ground and flaked al­monds which com­ple­ment the ap­ple nicely. I rec­om­mend be­ing ex­tra gen­er­ous with the fruit layer as ev­ery­body will want a de­cent help­ing of those soft, tof­fee-flavoured ap­ples.

Serve with tra­di­tional cus­tard or vanilla ice cream.


4 large cook­ing ap­ples (Bram­ley or sim­i­lar) about 800g, peeled and chopped into chunks 100g chopped dates 85g light mus­co­v­ado sugar 25g un­salted but­ter ½ tsp cin­na­mon juice and zest of 1 or­ange 1tbsp caramel su­rup


200g plain flour 50g ground al­monds 125g chilled un­salted but­ter 50g light mus­co­v­ado sugar 50g flaked al­monds


1 Peel and core your ap­ples and chop into de­cent-sized chunks. 2 Melt the but­ter in a small pan with the sugar, syrup and chopped dates un­til the but­ter and sugar have melted to­gether. Then pour over the chopped ap­ples, with the or­ange juice and zest. Mix well and spoon in to a large oven­proof dish. 3 For the top­ping com­bine the but­ter and flour with your fin­ger­tips un­til you have a nice crumb con­sis­tency. Add the soft brown sugar, ground and flaked al­monds, give it a quick mix and then heap over the fruit un­til all cov­ered. 4 Cook for 45 min­utes at 180C un­til well browned and bub­bling.

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