Comfort me with apple & cinnamon crumble
This afternoon I drove home through the country lanes, making my way home from the dentist. I was wearing my sunglasses. Partly because the sun was out and partly because my eyes were sore from crying.
Whenever I feel a little bit traumatised my thoughts immediately turn to comfort. My husband suggested I came home, let him do the school run, and settle down on the settee to watch something on Netflix.
He had the right idea. But it wasn’t Netflix I needed. But what was it, I asked myself. I tried to picture it as I turned right at the roundabout, my indicator ticking in time with my thoughts. Soup, I thought. Yes, something with barley in it. But that wasn’t what I needed immediately. That was something for later this week.
What I wanted right then was to be back writing on my laptop with the smell of something baking in the oven. Specifically with apples and cinnamon permeating the air.
Yes, I wanted to be comforted by apples.
I laughed to myself. And I mean laughed on the inside, I was too fragile to laugh out loud. Because Comfort Me with Apples was one of my favourite memoirs by Ruth Reichl. And I’d never truly understood the title until right then, at that moment.
The sun was warm for September. The field to the right of me was still golden from the shorn harvest but the one on the right was brown and recently ploughed. The trees were just on the turn, there was a subtle change in their greenness to a more yellowy green. It was my favourite time of year. And I wanted comfort from apples.
At first I thought of my apple traybake recipe. That traybake is gorgeous and I haven’t been able to make it due to lack of eggs from the moulting chickens and ducks. But now I had three eggs. I’d been saving them up. I could finally make it.
But then I found myself making a crumble. Rubbing the butter into the flour. Then stirring in a combination of white and brown sugar. I had no oats, so this time it wouldn’t be an oaty crumble. But that’s okay. A traditional crumble is what was needed today.
I love putting brown sugar into a crumble. It just adds a deeper taste. It’s not just sweet like white sugar but it also has a flavour. A toffee, bonfire-y, autumn-y kind of taste.
I peeled the apples. The puppy was watching me intently. The ones I chose were eating apples from our tree and I took a tentative bite. Tentative because I had been to the dentist afterall. They were delicious. It was definitely the taste I was after. The taste I needed.
Soon the apples were peeled, cored and chopped then sprinkled with cinnamon. I took pleasure in covering them in a simple but delicious crumble topping.
To be served with custard.
Comfort me with apple & cinnamon crumble recipe
An oven-proof bowl for cooking the crumble in. The size of your dish will affect how much fruit you need so use the recipe as a guide.
For the crumble topping
250g plain flour
150g butter, cubed
100g caster sugar
60g soft brown sugar
For the fruit
sprinkle of sugar
large sprinkle of cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 160 fan.
Peel, core and cube the apples. Soak in lemon or salted water to stop them going brown whilst you prepare the crumble.
In a bowl, cube the butter. Add the flour and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar.
Pour the water off the apples, give them a shake to rid excess water and place them in your oven proof dish.
Sprinkle the crumble mix on top.
Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Serve. And be comforted.
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