I had serious arguments with myself before I finally made my mind up to post this recipe. After all, who needs yet another recipe for baking fruit covered in a simple flour and oat mixture? Especially when we are solidly in spring here in Australia, decidedly not a time for hot baked desserts.
What finally convinced me to post was the reminder that this blog is as much for me as it is for the ten or so of you who regularly read it.
As soon as I remember where I left my glasses so that I may read the screen.
It is a place for me to share my thoughts, memories and experiences. To excitedly show you what I whipped up in my kitchen that made us happy over here. I decided that perhaps a classic recipe with some equally sweet memories attached is the perfect thing to share in this, my corner of cyber-space.
All that and the fact that I had some sad, softish looking apples trying to die a slow death in my fruit bowl which simply had to be used up.
I learnt the original version of this from a housemate during my time in Glasgow. We were interns then, poor for both money and time.
As interns, our days were a blur of hospital duty, scrubs and pagers. There were weeks of nightshifts where day became night and night was day. A unique form of jet-lag without the fun parts like aeroplanes and cocktails by the pool. Amidst it all we did all we could to absorb information from our seniors while attempting to appear knowledgeable in front of the students.
We ate when we could and coming home to a prepared meal was a luxury we never took for granted. The local pub knew us well as making our way further afield to eat out in the city was a trip we seldom had the time or energy to make. Piled into a big house together, we found that sharing meals was the most economical, not to mention most enjoyable way to go about things.
When my housemate made this crumble, an enormous dish of this would stretch to be both dessert and breakfast for several days. During the busier times, it might have served as dinner as well. We would store it in the cooled oven, which in the Glasgow winter was not too different from a fridge in any other place.
You can make this your own as I did. I usually use Granny Smith (green) apples but just about any apple will work. The blueberries do that thing they do, exploding in the heat and covering everything rather dramatically in their purple juices. Feel free to use whatever berries you like, or even raisins. The crumble can only be enhanced by add-ins such as shredded coconut, pecans or hazelnuts, but I quite enjoy the way pepitas swell with hot air and go all crunchy.
Apple and Blueberry Crumble
Serves 6-8 for dessert or 4 hungry interns for dinner
For the fruit layer:
1 punnet blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar
For the crumble:
3/4 cup wholewheat plain flour
3/4 cup quick oats
3 tbsp pepitas
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 & 1/2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 160 C.
Core and dice the apples to a 1 1/2 to 2 cm dice. In a mixing bowl, mix the apples, blueberries and the rest of the fruit layer ingredients so that the fruit is well coated in the other ingredients. Distribute the fruit mixture evenly in a medium sized deep ceramic dish.
Place all the crumble ingredients, apart from the cloves, in the same bowl. Use your (clean) fingers to massage the butter and syrup into the other ingredients. Stop when it is well mixed to a moist crumble consistency.
Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture. Dot the cloves into the crumble.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes until the apples are soft and yeilding.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, cream or Greek yoghurt. The latter is probably a more sensible option if you are having leftovers for breakfast but if you opt for ice-cream it’ll be our little secret.