So, I sent the husband to buy back some fruits and he came back with enough to feed a village. My bad. I was too lazy to walk to the market to get them myself so now, I’ve ended up with a bigger problem- finish the 15 odd apples before they rot. So an apple crumble was an obvious choice for a simple addition to a weekday dinner. We’re trying to keep to a healthier diet as anyone over thirty will know- your hips don’t lie (cue Shakira). So, this version is healthier with the use of less sugar and the addition of whole oats and nuts. This is a perfect dish for small get-togethers as it’s tasty and simple. Also, your house will smell amazing. The scent of apples, cinnamon and nutmeg should be a made into a scented candle. The dish and its aromas are comforting, especially on a cold, rainy night.
You need to use firm flesh baking apples like fuji, braeburn or granny smith. The apples need to be naturally sweet and juicy too as there is not much sugar in this recipe. I used NZ fuji apples for mine. Also, if you do not have freshly grated nutmeg, you could omit them. Nutmegs loose their flavour quickly so it’s best to buy whole nutmegs and grate them when needed rather than buy them ground. You could also use any nuts you have instead of pumpkin. Sliced almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds should be great in this recipe too.
A Leaner Apple Crumble
- 5 -6 firm flesh apples
- 2-3 ripe sugar plums
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- handful of raisins
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 50 g melted butter/ vegan butter, cooled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup whole oats
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Peel and core apples. Cut into 1 inch bite-sized cubes. Not too small as the apples do ‘dissolve’ and become smaller after baking.
Squeeze half a lemon into a pitcher with water. Put the cubed apples in there to stop them from browning.
Remove the plum stones and cut plums into chunks.
Drain and dry apples with a kitchen towel. Put them in a medium-sized bowl with the plum chunks.
Add raisins,cinnamon,maple syrup and vanilla extract to apple/plum pieces and toss to evenly coat them.
Spread apple/plum evenly into a 9 x 5 inch baking dish.
Now for the crumble topping. In another medium bowl, whisk flour, nutmeg and sugar. Add oats and nuts.
Use your hands to ‘crumble’ the topping. The mixture will look like big grains of sand.
Scatter crumble topping evenly over fruit.
Bake in middle rack of oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and you can see the fruit juices bubbling around the edges.
If the crumble browns too early, add a layer of aluminum foil over the baking dish and continue to bake.
Let the dish cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Use a salad spoon to scoop out the crumble onto serving plates.
Add a dollop of custard or a scoop of plain ole’ vanilla ice-cream.
For prettier serving, you could use individual ramekins instead of a baking tray.
Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free version: Just coat more nuts with agave nectar instead of using the flour,butter and brown sugar. However, nuts burn easily so add them to the top of the fruit 10 minutes before the end.
You could use any stone fruit instead of sugar plums for this recipe. Peaches and apples will make fantastic combination. I would have used peaches, if not for how expensive they were.