Tuesday, 14 February 2012

apple and blueberry crumble

As mentioned in my last post, my digital to-do list is quite effective. My next new bake of the year is Apple Crumble. I tend to shy away with anything that requires cooking over the stove. But at the start of this year, I told myself that I should really really get out of my comfort zone. While going through the recipe, I had envisioned that cooking sugar with just 1 tablespoon of water would definitely cause the mixture to stick to the pot, and to make it worst, you are not suppose to stir the mixture before it caramelized.

My initially fear of ending up with a pot of burnt apples was rather unfounded. The sugar mixture didn't even stick to the stainless steel pot I used. I have added in lemon zest to cook with the apple fillings even though it is not called for in the recipe I followed. My heart was skipping with joy when the filling was done ;) The cooked apples, lightly accented by the lemon zest, tasted just right...tender but not too soft; sweet but not too sweet. Half the challenge was completed!

As it was the first time I was baking apple crumbles, not knowing what to expect, I filled the ramekins with the crumble toppings almost to the brim. Imagine my shock when I saw the toppings rised well over the rim upon baking. There was nothing wrong with it, but I needed 'space' for the scoop of ice cream to serve along with the apple crumble. So, once I took the ramekins out of the oven, I pressed the crumble toppings down with the back of a spoon. I would have press it down further, but the toppings started to fall off and I thought it was best to leave it alone. I left it to cool but when I went back to check after 5 mins, I was taken aback by another interesting sight...the crumble toppings sank further down the rim. I felt a little sheepish...I should have left it alone and let nature takes its course?

photo credit: photo taken with help from my sous chef cum ad-hoc photographic assistant holding the spoon as steadily as he could.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I have ever tasted apple crumble. What a delicious combo of warm apple fillings, bursting blueberries, light buttery crumbs that was full of flavour and fragrance from the almond powder and nutty walnuts! Needless to say, apple crumble with vanilla ice cream is a perfect match. Another discovery I made...the tangy blueberries became sweet even though it was not cooked with the apple fillings, I wonder what went on under those crumble mix when it was baking in the oven?

This is a certainly a crowd pleaser, great as after dinner desserts when you have guests coming over since the fillings and crumble toppings can be prepared in advance. I am sure you will have guests going gaga over your homemade desserts :)

Apple and Blueberry Crumble

(serves 4)

for the filling:
4 apples (I used 3 large China fuji apples)
60g caster sugar (original recipe calls for 80g)
1 tablespoon water
zest from 1 lemon (not called for in original recipe)

*some fresh blueberries

for the crumble:
60g cake flour
60g almond powder (grounded almond)
60g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
40g caster sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
35g walnuts, coarsely chopped

(*the blueberries are not cooked with the apple fillings)


for the filling
  1. Core the apples, cut into chunks.
  2. Place sugar and 1 tablespoon water into a pot. Leave it to boil on Medium-to-High heat. DO NOT stir the mixture. (Stirring will cause the mixture to thin out.)
  3. Leave the mixture to boil undisturbed (takes about a couple of minutes). Once it starts to brown or caramelize, swirl the pot a little to allow the mixture to brown evenly. Immediately add in the apples, stir to coat the apples with the syrup. (Note: the syrup mixture will be very hot, it will splatter when the apples are added especially if the apple chunks are not well drained. This is speaking from experience.)
  4. Allow the apples to cook on Medium-to-Low heat for about 5 mins, stir occasionally.
  5. Add in the lemon zest, continue to cook for another 5 mins or until the apples become fork tender and the mixture dries out. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely.
for the crumble
  1. Place flour, almond powder, sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the cold butter. With a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (or use fingertips to rub in the butter).
  3. Add in the chopped walnuts, toss to combine. (Note: leave to chill in fridge if not used immediately.)
to assemble
  1. Preheat oven to 190degC.
  2. Fill ramekin or ovenproof dish to 3/4 full (portion is enough for 4 ramekins, size of ramekin: 3.5"). Add in a few fresh blueberries to each ramekin. Top with crumble mixture (I used about 2 tablespoons for each ramekins and there is still some leftover crumbles).
  3. Bake for 30mins or until the crumble is golden. (Note: the crumble toppings will expand upon baking)
  4. Leave to cool and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Note: the apple fillings could still be piping, take care when serving to young children.)
Recipe Source: adapted from Smile! 幸福小点心, 山王丸由利绘


gracie said...

It looks yummy!! Makes me hungry looking at it...

Katie said...

This looks great!
I'll definitely try this recipe! :D apples and blueberrriesss... yum..

Anonymous said...

Wow, looks yummy, I must bake this! Love the ramekins. It's so pretty. Amy

Yvonne said...

Looks really, really good! And sounds simple enough, though I'm really afraid of the burning sugar part.

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks gracie!

KayCe, hope you will like this :)

Amy, I bought the ramekins at the local baking supply store, I almost missed it as it was hidden at a corner of the shelves.

Yvonne, don't worry, the sugar won't burnt...it was on a rolling boiling with so little liquid and yet it didnt stick to the pan. I am sure you can do better than me =)

cybil said...

Love crumble!! What a sweet idea for Valentine's day!!
Thanks for your beautiful blog!!!

Ани said...

I love crumbles. Yours looks fantastic. Thank you!

sherlyn said...

Look so delicious, esp with the ice cream ..... and I love the heart shape ramekin.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, thanks!

Warm crumble with vanilla ice cream is a favorite dessert! Also good with a pear/raspberry combo, or rhubarb in the spring (needs more sugar though). Here in Canada we often add rolled oats to the crumble mixture.


CY said...

Ooooh, we love apple crumble! I have seen some short cut recipes that use museli (without fruit) as a topping, just for crunch... The 1st time I made apple crumble I didn't put a tray under the ramekins and the "juice" bubbled over and became a burnt crust on the bottom of my oven. :(

happybowl said...

The timing is perfect. A valentine sweet treat..

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Anonymous said...

Hi may I know where did you get the heart-shaped ramkins? It's really beautiful! Im going to bake this apple crumble for my boyfriend for his birthday!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I got them from Phoon Huat.