If you’ve ever seen Game of Thrones, you will be familiar with the walk of shame. My wife put me through it yesterday, ringing a bell and crying Shame! at me, all around the kitchen. My crime? I bought a punnet of blackberries, rather than taking off to the woods to pick my own. I know, I know, but it was a busy day…
She changed her tune when this came out of the oven though; who can resist the meltingly soft, sweet and sharp tang of apples and blackberries, set against the rich, buttery crunch of a crumble topping? Not me, and it’s why I love every time of the year – there is always something coming into season that is a joy to eat.
For the filling:
3 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 Bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tsp cinnamon
100g Demerara sugar
a small pinch of fine sea salt
For the topping:
175g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
140g soft brown sugar
35g porridge oats
180g cold unsalted butter, cubed
Heat the oven to 170C/ gas 3.
Prepare the apples, keep them quartered even if the pieces seem a bit large.
In a separate bowl, mix the cinnamon with the Demerara sugar.
In a baking dish, place half the apples (a mixture of both types) in a single layer on the bottom. Sprinkle with one-third of the sugar/cinnamon mix. Now add all of the blackberries on top, again in a single layer, and sprinkle another one-third of the sugar/cinnamon mix on top. Now place the remainder of the apples on top of the blackberries and finish with the final one-third of the sugar/cinnamon mix.
Take a small pinch of fine sea salt and scatter evenly over the fruit. You only require a small pinch, but it gives the final flavour an immense lift.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry topping ingredients. Add the cold, cubed butter and using your fingers gently rub the dry ingredients into the butter until you end up with a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs. It doesn’t have to be evenly sized, and if you have a variety of sizes of lumps of butter that will just make your crumble better. If you struggle with rubbing-in, you can put everything into a food processor and pulse it carefully, just be careful not to over-process it.
Scatter the crumble topping over the top of the fruit, ensuring that everything is covered.
Bake, uncovered, in the middle of the oven for 45-60 minutes. Keep an eye on it, the last thing you want is a burnt topping. When it is ready, the topping should be golden and crunchy, and the fruit should be soft with the moisture from the apples and blackberries bubbling through.