I’m not a chocolate person. Sorry.
We didn’t eat a lot of dessert when we were kids. Thinking back, we had the odd bowl of ice cream, and once or twice a winter Mum’s rice pudding or apple crumble. If we went to visit our Grandparents in Perth there would always be stewed fruit or crumble, and after our family dinners on Friday Nights (highlight of the week) there would be one of my Nanna’s desserts – usually tiramisu, cheesecake, or… crumble. I hope you’re sensing a theme here.
Maybe because dessert was so rare and special, or maybe because they were so good when I got them, I have a soft spot for fruit desserts, and especially crumbles. Since I discovered I also really like caramel, I was pretty stoked to see Citrus and Candy’s Caramel Apple Crumble recipe. It is seriously good. Having so much crumble in the family I went my own way with the topping, but all credit to her for the filling.
1 small cinnamon stick (I omitted this, since we didn’t have any)
240g caster sugar
pinch of sea salt
8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 2cm chunks (if you’re doing individual serves you want around an apple a person and one for the pot, as it were)
3/4 c wholemeal flour
3/4 c white flour
handful of slivered almonds
two handfuls of rolled oats
softened butter – to taste. Realistically I used probably 200g.
sugar – ideally brown, but this time we used white
Being a family recipe, I’ve never seen anyone weigh or measure any of this – it just depends on what you feel like eating on the day. All quantities are very, very approximate.
Preheat oven to 180°C
If you’re using a cinnamon stick, heat it with the cream then remove from the heat and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Remove the stick before making the caramel.
Make the crumble before you make the caramel – it can sit quite happily at room temperature or in the fridge if you make it in advance. Roughly chop the butter, sprinkle over the flours and sugar and rub together. Mix in the oats and almonds. You can do this in a food processor, but I would still add the oats by hand or before the very last pulse, otherwise they get all ground up.
Heat the water and sugar over a low heat until the mixture reaches a golden caramel. If anything, stop slightly on the light side, as the mix will stay on the heat a while longer and then go into the oven and you don’t want to take it to perfect and then push it over the edge later.
Add the cream, from a safe distance, followed by the butter and salt. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped apple, toss them through the caramel and lightly cook. I found that with their time in the oven, even a few minutes in the pan was enough to make the final product very soft. If you like your apples with a bit more texture, I’d fry them for only a minute, or less.
Spoon the apples into your ramekins (as we used) or a baking dish. Drizzle a little of the caramel sauce over the apples if they look too plain and lonely.
Top with the crumble mixture and bake for 15-25 minutes, until the crumble is coloured up to your liking.
We couldn’t find the Bannister Downs thickened cream (the cream that will ruin you for all other creams) at my local IGA, so we had these with just a spoonful of extra caramel drizzled over the top. I’m sure they’d also be delicious with ice cream, but it’s Bannister Downs or bust as far as I’m concerned.