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Caramelised apple crumble

July 12, 2010

There are few things that compete in the same league as caramelised apples, except for maybe your ultimate version of the chocolate chip cookie or chocolate brownie. There are even fewer things that make winter that much more bearable for winter-haters (like, well, me).

And well, there are few things that involve so much sugar and butter together, where the fruity part is sweeter than the crumble part, and the last few bites are enjoyed a little out of relief. I felt so guilt-ridden for making this that I made the crumble from 100% whole wheat flour (which I will continue doing from now on, because this is the only way I will make apple crumble from now on…maaaybe with a bit less sugar, and some added lemon juice).

Now I’m sure you’ll already have your preferred recipe for apple crumble, almost everyone does, so what makes this worth departing your safest apple crumble method/recipe for? First of all, the apples are pre cooked so that they’re silky soft, rather than mushy soft. They keep their shape better as they’re cooked in caramel sauce. Second, the caramel apple combination is actually just SUBLIME. You know how caramel can be a little much? Heh, what I mean is, you know how it’s socially unacceptable to eat caramel straight from the jar? See, problem solved. Lastly, the wait in the oven isn’t painstakingly long. You’ve already cooked the apple, and the crumble doesn’t take long if you whack it in at 200C (400F) on the top rack of your oven (25 minutes is all it took me).

I’ll be honest, I have no “recipe” for this as such, because guesstimates are all you really need for crumble. I’ve given a rough recipe for two though. Credit must be given to Donal for the caramel apple cooking method and Peter for inspiration (ok, so this is sort of a lazy version of his recipe without a crust). The crumble on this is a bit different though with the wholemeal, I much prefer a little wholemeal in there as it complements the nuttiness of the oats well and adds crispness. It doesn’t really go crunchy though, so if you want crunchy sort of lumps use half white flour.

Caramelised apple crumble

serves 2-3


  • about 50g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • about 3/4c wholemeal flour (half and half if you want crunchy lumps)
  • about 1/3c light brown sugar
  • about 1/2c rolled oats
  • pinch salt

apple base

  • about 3c peeled chopped (2cm pieces) granny smith apple pieces (do not use other kinds of apples)
  • about 25g unsalted butter
  • about 1/2c brown or white sugar (more if you want it super sweet)
  • generous pinch cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Melt butter on high heat and immediately add apples, then sugar and salt. Mix together constantly on high heat. The sugar and butter will melt together and the apples will emit a lot of water to form a very liquidy caramel sauce that is slightly tangy and appley. Keep cooking on high heat and stirring constantly until the caramel sauce is darkened and the consistency of maple syrup, and the apples are soft (ten minutes). Stir in cinnamon. Taste by dipping a cold metal spoon into the sauce (only the very tip), letting it cool (wait at least ten seconds) before you taste the syrup. DO NOT try and taste a piece of the apple unless you want a tongue blister! Set aside.

Using a pastry cutter or knife and fork, rub the crumble ingredients together until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. You want some little lumps of butter to remain. Pour the apple and sauce into a ceramic ovenproof dish or ramekins and top with crumble. Pop on the top rack of your oven for 25 minutes (check at 15 minutes if using ramekins).

Serve with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Just in case you’re wondering, that’s about half the crumble.

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