With its lingering scent of cinnamon and fresh sweet apples, this easy apple crumble is the perfect winter fix!

Published: December 1, 2017
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Serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to mesh together tangy and sweet. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

Winter is finally here! This weather provides the perfect setting for the perfect dessert: apple crumble.

A few weeks ago, life landed me in the picturesque town of Salisbury, home to the Salisbury Cathedral. At 404 feet (since 1549), the cathedral has had the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom – I can attest to that having climbed all 330 steps to the top!

It is here where my friend Alice grew up and where her family still lives. After the descent from the spire, her mother Lucy was kind enough to host us for a classic English tea, which I mentioned in my previous post.

Among other things I fell in love with was what I now envision to be my dream garden – one that is quintessentially English in design; that perfect combination of manicured lawns and over-flowing flower beds, trimmed topiary and box hedges. Where we have maalis (gardeners) to preserve lawns in Pakistan, I was surprised to learn that Lucy together with Rachel maintain the garden themselves – something we back home would do well to emulate.

A picket fence, an iron gate, bricks, stone pathway, and a traditional arched arbour instantly created the feeling of a quaint, old-time garden. Benches, flower urns, a swing under the apple tree all heightened the sense of style underpinning the plantings and showcased a sense of perfection.

Lucy was kind enough to provide us a huge bag of hand-picked apples and we returned to London with promises of making good use of them.

And we did indeed, but not in London, but a week later on a cold night in Edinburgh.

A classic apple crumble, courtesy a traditional recipe from masterchef Alice, was a delicious way to utilise all those apples.

This recipe comes together quickly, provides the perfect finish to a hearty meal and leaves the kitchen smelling like cinnamon and the fruitiness of fresh apples.

I believe, irresistible desserts don’t need a mile-long ingredient list or an elaborate preparation, and this tempting crumble proves it. The balancing flavour and the rich texture from soft apples and a crunchy crumble topping create a delicious evening dessert.

Ingredients:

Base

Granny Smith (green) apples – 6 (peeled and chopped)

Brown sugar – 135 grams

Cinnamon – 1 tsp

Topping

Plain (all-purpose) flour – 1 cup (150 grams)

Caster (superfine) sugar – ½ cup (110 grams)

Butter – 50 grams (softened)

(Optional: You can add a bit of oats here too)

Method:

1) Preheat oven.

2) For the topping, place the flour, sugar and butter in the bowl or a food processor and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3) Place the apple, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine.

4) Layer the apple mixture into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the topping mixture. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden.

Serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to mesh together tangy and sweet. You can’t go wrong with apple crumble!  And if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, warm them in the microwave and serve with yogurt, to make a warming breakfast.

Enjoy!

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rukhsana

    Good article. Nice user friendly recipe.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Lovely pictures, Salisbury looks like a town out of a Thomas Hardy novel. The apple crumble dessert with a dollop of vanilla ice cream is the type of dessert I am now partial to …… I am slowly growing out of the soft gooey chocolate mush stuff.
    I notice that whenever apples are used in cooking, it’s usually the mostly green variety and not the pretty red apples.
    In your last blog you did mention that you would bring up the English cottage and you did…..the picture of the garden was great. Maintaining a garden in England and in Pakistan ( especially Karachi which has NO water ) are two completely different things. I bet if your two lady friend had to maintain a garden that size without help in Karachi, they would be on the next flight back to Salisbury.
    Uffff…..this has become long enough…..I’ll tell you something about me and gardens next time.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    gooey chocolate stuff is nice but sometimes, this type of dessert you can have everyday !
    that’s true its difficult to maintain gardens here but then again I know people who take pride in maintaining their gardens , although such people are very rare to come by,
    if not the entire garden then at least a patch of it should be self-maintained for therapy sakes alone
    please do share your anecdotes I and I am sure a lot of other people look forward to them !Recommend

  • Parvez

    Don’t kid yourself, at best 4 people read this …you, me, Patwari who’s sadly missing this time and the odd one who’s just curious…… :-)
    On gardening I’m told its very therapeutic…. I leave it to the good wife because I tried tending to a plant in a big pot and a week later it was dead….end of story.
    I liked the picture of the majestic Salisbury Cathedral ……reminded of centuries ago when I was newly married and we found ourselves in a small town called Jarrow . Pottering about we stumbled upon a quaint little church and a priest was outside and told us its history and according to him it was one of the oldest churches in England and it was superbly preserved. At that time there was no Internet for instant checking….but I filed the information away and today I looked it up.
    Now see what you’ve made do ….I’ve completely gone off on a tangent and you have not told me why greenish apples are preferred over the pretty red ones for cooking.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hahaah noo I am sure there are many secret followers ( at least I tell myself that =p)
    I just googled Jarrow – see this is why I love writing blogs , the name sounded so interesting in itself!
    greenish apples because they aren’t overly sweet , just the right amount of tangy , the red ones are always on the sweeter side so people prefer granny smith apples or greenish ones in cooking to maintain the taste balance
    and where is patwari !Recommend

  • Parvez

    The apples thing…….I had guessed the answer and you confirmed my guess. All these cooking shows I watch is now paying off.
    Yes, Patwari has jumped ship on this one…..very unlike him…..he’s both knowledgeable and entertaining.
    On the subject of cathedrals one I must mention was the one in Barcelona by the architect Gaudi ( building started in 1882 ) with the reputation that it was so designed that its building process would never end. I saw it in the mid 80’s and work was still in progress, possibly it was renovation being done, but the guide kept the legend alive. Google it….. its worth looking at because its unique.
    We must talk more about food……must I remind you that its a food blog.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    please recommend the best cooking shows , believe it or not I JUST started wtaching masterchef and love it !
    I have heard and seen ( in pictures) Gaudi’s work, its beautiful, I would love to see it in person,
    haha yes but then again this blog is more about ” this that..& food” as a eise person once said!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Our food I would recommend Shirin Anwar ……. she goes step by step and if you follow her you cant go wrong.
    Western / Chinese etc….there are so many. Master Chief is a reality show mixed with cooking….its entertaining. Anthony Bourdain’s ‘ Parts Unknown ‘ is a good travel show and he does give brilliant food tips. Then there’s ‘ Two Fat Ladies ‘ who ride around the English countryside and stop at amazing places to cook meals…….and then there’s Keith Floyd the legend. There are so many others like the Scandavenian chiefs and the Chinese who’s program I ‘ If Yan Can Cook So Can You ‘ which must have been one of the first Chinese cooking show that I saw…..and many more.
    Let me give a word of advice, these shoes are addictive, I can waste my time…..but at your age please be careful.
    People will say why did you leave out Gordon Ramsay…..well he’s comes across more as show man, its more about Gordon Ramsay and less about cooking.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I love shireen anwar !
    Gordon Ramsey is like the Simon Cowell of American Idol, sadly he left but same to same
    I will watch these shows thank you! , but with restraint of course, I became addicted to TV once and the results not good =p but thank you !Recommend

  • Parvez

    Welcome……start with ‘ Two Fat Ladies ‘ , they ride around England on a motor cycle with a side car attached….helmets, jackets and all. They are both in their 60’s + and one of them had cooked a meal for the queen…..I think she’s the one who later passed away.Recommend

  • AJ

    This looks super easy yet deliciois. Thanks for easy peasy recipe.

    Your posts about English life style give me the same feeling many many years ago I used to have while reading Jane Eyre and A Black Velvet Gown.Recommend

  • AJ

    I bet I am the curiois one here. I love reading the post and the comments’ section even more. ☺
    Please do share your stories. I (and I am sure many more who do read but can’t be bothered to leave any comment) enjoy them a lot and look forward to them.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thank you for that ….. what makes it all worthwhile is the fact that Arhama has the time and courtesy to reply to each comment and yes the ability to prompt the talker to keep talking……and the fun part is that under the head of ‘ food blog ‘ you can say just about anything.Recommend