There has been a sudden deluge of apples in my garden, which has meant that for the last week my lawn has become a glorified bird feeding ground and kitty litter tray to all the local wildlife.
As the neighbour’s cat will testify, the apples have had their uses, but after a week of near misses, I know that luck will soon have me if I don’t put the apples to good use.
Either I get gathering or I will most likely end up on my ass amongst the wasps and rotten apple rejects.
So I have taken as many as my arms can gather and sacrificed them to the kitchen for a moment of baking therapy. I love baking, but it is not something I frequently do. I tend to think I am more at home on the stove top, poaching, pickling and frying. But as soon as I get to it, the waft of butter up my nostrils wins me over every time. It’s one of those smells that takes me back to my grannie’s kitchen and sends every tastebud rushing to the memories in its food bank and makes my mouth water in anticipation of the sweet buttery apple goodness in store.
Before I drool all over my keyboard discussing baking, let me explain the (below) I have included two recipes. Below I have included two crumbles recipes. Apple and Redcurrant and Apple and Beetroot…
Let me explain the unlikely pairing of apple and beetroot for the second crumble. You might be thinking it’s a bonkers combination but I assure you, in the most earnest fashion, that beetroot and apple are a match made in heaven.
When beetroot is roasted it intensifies its natural earthy sweetness, which really complements tart and tangy fruits, such as cooking apples, plums or greengages. In the past I have served baked apple with a sweetened beetroot puree, but nothing beats the combination of the two in a humble British crumble. It’s a colourful, creative twist on an old favorite and is a great way of sneaking veggies into any unsuspecting beetroot hater. Although this is a bit of indulgence, it’s still good to know that I am getting a few vitamins whilst treating myself to a scoop, or two. Jamie Oliver would be so proud.
Apple Beetroot and Walnut Crumble
Fills one 12-inch – 6-inch
- 250g white spelt flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 200g light brown sugar
- 50g dark muscavado sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 175g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
- 100g chopped walnuts
- 1 large fresh beetroot, roughly 150g (peeled weight)
- 4 large bramley apples (cooking apples), peeled, cored and diced
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Scrub the beetroot thoroughly, then wrap them loosely in foil. Cook for 45-50 minutes or until the beetroot is soft and tender. Peel the fibrous outer skin off the beetroot and chop into small chunks.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 140°C
Pulse the baking powder, flour, sugar, butter, salt in a food processor until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Turn the flour into a large bowl and mix through the walnuts
To make the filling, put the chopped beetroot in a food processor and briefly blitz. You want to retain a few small chunks, you don’t want it to be completely smooth
Tip the beetroot puree into a bowl and add the diced apples and muscovado sugar. Stir until well combined.
Pour the filling into an ovenproof dish. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping, smoothing it over but leaving room for the flour to rise a little. Place the dish in the oven and cook until the apples are cooked through and piping hot. It will take approximately an hour but turn it halfway through cooking and check it after 50 mins, as ovens can vary.
One of my favourite optional additions is stem ginger. Add 3 balls of chopped stem ginger into either of the crumble bases, along with the apples and substitute the muscovado sugar for a couple of tablespoons of the ginger sugar syrup.
Failing that an addition of 1 tsp of allspice in the crumble topping keeps things festive for Christmas.
Always time for a cheeky close up.