Apple and Blackberry Crumble

The time of year when we eat hot puddings stuffed with fruit and topped with sweetness seems to be creeping closer every day. This crumble is an absolute classic combination. The fruit is very tart and the topping is dense, crisp and sweet. The blackberries colour the apple a magnificent pink and it's just beautiful. It's a humble and satisfying desert that can be endlessly reinterpreted. The fruit can be substituted for any available at the time of year. Lovely crumbles can be made with rhubarb, peaches, pears etc. However, the combination of apple and blackberry is really rather special. 

I don't cook any of the fruit before hand, so it retains quite a bit of its shape. If using cooking apples, they will soften completely but the blackberries should still be visibly in tact. For the crumble, recipes differ just a bit, some are chunky, some are fine, some contain nuts and or oats. You can play around with it. The important thing is that there should be just under double the amount of flour and nuts or oats to butter. Sugar is about a third of the mix and you can increase the amount mixed into the fruit for a sweeter taste. I like to make my filling quite tart and then eat it with a rich and slightly sweet yoghurt or a good vanilla ice cream.

Recipe (serves 4-6)

125g butter
150g flour
50g ground almonds or flour or oats
75g brown sugar
2 large bramley apples
150g blackberries
50-100 golden caster sugar

To make the crumble topping: Cut butter into dry ingredients and work together to form a dry and lumpy mixture. You can blitz the butter into the flour mix using a food processor for a finer crumble. I like chunky bits of crumble in every mouthful. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until needed.

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a baking dish. Peal, core and chop apples into chunks. Add blackberries and sugar. Mix gently together until well covered. Put fruit mixture into the buttered dish, level out. Remove crumble from the fridge and cover fruit with an even layer and add a little more to the middle. The fruit and topping will sink. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and cooked through. The juice of the fruit will probably bubble through the top and up the sides. Allow to cool a bit before serving with yoghurt, cream or ice cream. Delicious eaten cold for breakfast too!

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