Wintry Apple Bake with Double Ginger Crumble
The perfect comforting dessert for a winter's day, this apple crumble is like tucking into a deconstructed cookie served with perfectly soft, spiced apples. Just add cream.
Please don’t tell her, because it would be very embarrassing, but when I make this I like to pretend that I am Nigella Lawson. I mean, we all do this sometimes in the kitchen, right? Right, don’t tell me. I can’t help it—the flavors here, loosely inspired by mince pies, are unquestionably associated with British cookery, even though each is just as popular here. Crumbles feel impossibly other-side-of-the-pond to me, too, especially when served with a trickle of double cream. And ginger—well, it’s pretty much tied for me with the word “schedule” for my favorite to hear when delivered in an English accent. I know, I know, I should just keep this stuff to myself.
More specific to Ms. Lawson, I began putting baking powder in my crumble toppings after I used it in a recipe of hers more than a decade ago and loved the effect—the results felt more cookielike. Cookies are never a bad idea. What I was really going for here, however, was brightly spiced, saucy apples absolutely smothered in crumbs. If it seems like you’ve tucked a few pieces of fruit into a pan just to make it seem more acceptable to eat a tray of buttery ginger cookie crumbs, well, this was not an accident. When you scoop it into a bowl, it’s basically begging for a melty scoop of ice cream or the aforementioned drizzle of cream. I say we listen to it.
|For the filling:|
|3||large, firm, tart baking apples (680g to 775g total or 1½ to 1¾ pounds)|
|zest and juice of ½ lemon|
|¼ tsp||ground cinnamon|
|a few gratings of fresh nutmeg|
|a pinch of ground cloves|
|2 tsp (10ml)||brandy, or 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract|
|40g (3 tbsp)||granulated sugar|
|a pinch of salt|
|For the topping:|
|150g (about ⅔ cup)||unsalted butter|
|50g (¼ cup)||demerara sugar|
|50g (¼ cup)||granulated sugar|
|¼ tsp||coarse or sea salt|
|1½ tsp||baking powder|
|½ tsp||ground ginger|
|260g (2 cups)||plain flour, or more if needed|
|1 tbsp (10g)||finely chopped candied ginger, or more to taste|
Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.
Peel, halve, and core your apples. Cut each piece into 1-inch wedges. Arrange these in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brandy, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples, and toss the pieces so that they’re coated.
Make the crumbs
Melt the butter in a large bowl or saucepan. Stir in the sugars, then add the salt, baking powder, and ground ginger. Stir in the flour and candied ginger. Clumps of dough should easily form; if not, add another tablespoon of flour, and stir again.
Sprinkle the crumble on top of the prepared apples.
Bake the crumble
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crumble is lightly browned and apples poked with the tip of a knife have no resistance.
Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving with a dollop of whipped cream, a trickle of cold cream, or some ice cream.
You can replace 1⁄3 of the flour in the topping with an equal volume of ground or finely chopped nuts. You can also add a handful of rolled oats for more texture.