Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A Girl's Guide to Baking - Apple & Blackberry Crumble

It’s half term holidays this week at most schools, also known as “blackberry week” from a time when children had to go out fruit picking because Playstations hadn’t been invented. Here’s one, rocking the skinny jeans look way back in 1983.
Even aged 11, skinny jeans made my bum look fat
It’s odd that a holiday at the end of October is traditionally linked with blackberry picking. As any lover of British folklore can tell you, the Devil spits on the blackberries on Old Michaelmas day (29 September), making them watery and tasteless. He’s a one, isn’t he? If you can’t find any blackberries to pick, you can get them in the supermarket, substitute a more readily available soft fruit, or simply leave them out of this recipe. I acquired my blackberries by sending my dad out blackberry picking, promising him he’d get a Playstation for Christmas (he won’t).

For the recipe you will need the following ingredients:

 For the crumble:

180g plain flour
Pinch of salt
120g butter
50g porridge oats
50g caster sugar

For the filling:

700g cooking apples (about 6 apples)
150g blackberries
120g caster sugar
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornflour

For the topping:
1 tablespoon brown sugar

First, make the crumble by placing the flour and salt in a large bowl and cutting up the butter into small cubes in the flour. It helps if the butter is quite cool to the touch.

Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture forms fine breadcrumbs. If you shake the bowl from side to side, any larger lumps rise to the surface so you can spot them and crumb them. Stir in the oats and sugar then pop the mixture in the fridge

Heat the oven to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F/gas mark 5

Peel and core the apples and cut into small chunks. Place in a bowl with the blackberries

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and cornflour and toss the fruit in it until it is fully coated. The cornflour thickens the juice that comes out of the fruit when it’s cooking.

Put the fruit in a shallow ovenproof dish, leaving about 2cm space for the crumble to go on top

Cover the fruit with the crumble and sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.  Put the dish on a baking tray –if any juice spills out of the dish, it’s much easier to clean a baking tray than the bottom of your oven

Bake for about 40 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit is soft.

You can serve the crumble with custard, cream or ice cream. I like the ice cream at Archers on Acorn Road in Jesmond and after extensive research can recommend their toffee apple ice cream and cinnamon ice cream to go with this crumble. Enjoy!

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