I love desserts that can be adapted to use seasonal fruits all year long. Crumble is a perfect example of this. The topping is simple to make and keeps well. One trip to the farmer’s market or local pick-your-own farm, and you’ve got a sweet end to a meal that will make people swear your grandmother came to visit. I prepared apple crumble for the winery workers at Champagne Legras & Haas with apples I picked at the Cueillette de d’Aulnay sur Marne (a pick-your-own-fruit and vegetable farm about five miles from the winery). Feel free to substitute your favorite fruit.
Recipe: Apple Crumble
Yield: 10 cups of crumble topping—enough for one 9 x 13-inch dish, or 12 individual ramekins
Ease of Preparation: Simple Ease of Sourcing: Simple
Wine Pairing: Depending on the fruit, either a white, red, or rosé dessert wine
INGREDIENTS For the Crumble:
1 lb. light brown sugar
4 cups rolled oats
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. cold unsalted butter, cut in 3⁄4-in. cubes
For the Apple Filling:
5 lbs. baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into twelve pieces
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
Vanilla or crème fraîche ice cream to garnish
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Electric mixer with paddle attachment 9 x 13-inch baking dish
For the crumble topping: 10 minutes Baking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
For the Crumble Topping:
Place the brown sugar, oats, kosher salt, and flour in the bowl of your mixer and mix on the lowest setting until well blended. There should be no lumps of brown sugar. Add the cold cubed butter and mix on the lowest setting until the butter pieces have reduced to the size of a small grape and they are fully coated with the sugar oat mixture. Do not step away. Do not continue beating until the butter is completely broken down and blended in. (Depending on the size of your mixer bowl, you may need to place a clean kitchen towel over the mixer to prevent the contents of the bowl from shooting around the room.) This method produces a crispy-textured crumble topping when baked. The topping can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a week.
For the Apple Crumble:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
After peeling and slicing the apples, add lemon juice to keep them from browning. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt to the apples. Place the apples in the bottom of the baking dish. Press down to make sure there is a solid layer of apples.
Cover the apples with a generous layer of crumble—between 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch thick.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning once. After 45 minutes, use a wooden skewer to poke through the crumble topping to see if the apples are soft. If they are still firm, return the crumble to the oven and continue baking until the apples are soft.
Serve warm with vanilla or crème fraîche ice cream.
#1. Make sure you use pie apples. They are crisp and hold their shape well. Examples of pie apples are McIntosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pippin, Braeburn, and Honeycrisp. These are just a few suggestions. Ask your local farmer what they recommend.
#2. This dish is fantastic with all sorts of fruit. You may need to add a bit of cornstarch or flour to the fruit mixture depending on the moisture content of the fruit. Adjust the amount of sugar based on the tartness level of the fruit. Depending on which fruit you use, you may also wish to omit the cinnamon.