Toffee Apple Crumble
Tucking into a slice of this wonderful spiced and caramel-scented pie is the culinary equivalent of sitting on a soft rug by a smouldering log fire. Its homely, spicy-sweet taste makes it a real autumn and winter warmer. Mind you, I think it’s quite all right to serve it with a big scoop of ice cream as a dessert for a sizzling barbecue, too. Toffee is one of those flavours that triggers a lot of people’s taste buds and this wonderful, creamy toffee caramel can be used for other desserts - poured over ice cream or warm brownies, for example. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
|1||quantity of sweet pastry (see ingredients and method below)|
|4 tbsp||white breadcrumbs (or sponge cake crumbs)|
|500g||Bramley, Discovery or Russet apples (about 420g prepared weight), peeled, cored and thinly sliced|
|1||quantity of streusel (see ingredients and method below), with 1 tsp ground mixed spice added|
|1 tbsp||icing sugar|
|For the toffee caramel:|
|For the sweet pastry:|
|1||medium egg yolk|
|100g||salted butter, cut into cubes|
|For the streusel:|
|50g||salted butter, cut into cubes|
You will need a deep 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
First make the pastry. Put the sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, combine briefly with a wooden spoon, then add the butter. Using the spoon or your fingers, blend them until they come together. You can also do this in a freestanding electric mixer. Sift in the flour and quickly work everything into a dough. Shape into a flat slab, wrap in cling film and chill for one hour before use.
Next, make the streusel. Put all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix either with an electric mixer or by hand. If mixing by hand, mix the flour and sugar together, add the cubed butter, then, using quick movements, use your fingertips to rub the mixture together until it forms a clumpy consistency.
Once the pastry has been chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 3-4mm thick and use to line a deep 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Trim off the excess and chill the pastry case for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the base of the pastry case, layer the sliced apples on top, then scatter over the streusel mix. Bake for 35 minutes, until the crumble is lightly browned and the apples are tender.
While the pie is in the oven, make the toffee caramel. You will need a small, heavy-based pan. When the caramel is ready, it’s important to cool the pan quickly, so fill the kitchen sink, or a heatproof container large enough to take the base of the pan, with cold water in readiness.
Put the butter in the heavy-based pan and place over a medium heat until it is just below simmering. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Cook over a low heat until caramelised; it should be the colour of brown eggshells.
Pour in the cream in a slow stream. The mixture will bubble up and be very, very hot, so it’s a good idea to be extra careful and perhaps make sure your arms are covered. Briefly continue to stir over the heat until the caramel forms a smooth emulsion. Now dip the base of the pan in the cold water to prevent the caramel darkening further. Set aside.
Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Lift it out of the tin and dust with the icing sugar, then drizzle with the toffee caramel.