You might associate crumble with being a typical autumnal dessert but I think that crumbles are just perfect anytime you have some fruit that needs using up, especially apples! I’ve taken my glut of fruit and used it to make my favourite Apple and Plum Crumble (or as I like to call it, plumble)
I always like to cook my crumble filling on the hob first so that the filling becomes sweet and syrupy. This step can be done in advance. If you don’t have or can’t find plums, fresh berries make a good additional fruit filling also. These should be added towards the end of the cooking process otherwise they will break down too much.
Some recipes call for cooking apples to be used in the filling but I think you need an apple variety that doesn’t break down too much while cooking to maintain the texture of the apple. I like to use just any apples that I have at home or that I can find in the shops. I choose to leave the peel of the apples on for ease but you can remove the peel if you prefer. The pectin in the peel does help to create a more syrupy and jam-like sauce in the filling however.
I like my crumble topping to have oats, it’s always been a thing that we do in our family. Sometimes if we have nuts too, we crush them up and add them to the crumble so they toast as the crumble bakes and become aromatic. I always add demerara sugar though, which adds a crunchy texture and a light caramel flavour.
For the fruit filling:
- 2 large apples (any variety, except cooking apples)
- 5 medium-sized plums
- 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
For the crumble topping:
- 100g plain flour
- 60g margarine
- 20g rolled oats
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
For the filling, chop up the plums into small chunks and the apples into half-inch cubes and place into a large saucepan with the sugar and spices. Place the mixture over a medium heat and allow the filling to stew for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally. Towards the start of the cooking process, stir the mixture more so the fruit cooks evenly, adding a splash of water about halfway through to help the fruit juices form a sauce. Place a lid on the mixture and leave to cook for the last 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 24cm baking dish and leave to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
For the crumble topping, rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. When you press the mixture together, it should crumble quite easily. Toss through the oats and the demerara sugar and sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the fruit filling. You should have a mix of large and small crumbs.
Bake the crumble for around 25 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crumble is lightly golden. Serve the crumble hot either with cream, custard or ice cream.
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