Surely the most lovely pudding on a cold winter’s day is hot apple crumble with thick cool custard? Let’s do it . . .
However, as no cooking apples were readily available, I used South African Fuji apples, which are lovely to eat raw! Fujis can be quite large, however today I have tiny ones, so it will take about twelve of them to fill the oven dish.
Peel and core the apples, then cut them in to 1-2cm sized pieces. Eat a piece to judge the sweetness.
In an oven dish, sprinkle some granulated or caster sugar over the cut apple - how much sugar should correspond to how sweet the apples are. Fuji Apples are naturally quite sweet, so I only used a teaspoonful of sugar. I will add some mixed berries as well which will add to the resulting sweetness. If using particularly tart cooking apples and no additional berries you may need to add several tablespoons of sugar. Also add a little water and gently pat the fruit down in to the dish so that there is a relatively flat base to support the crumble mix (you can skip adding any water if using frozen berries).
To make the crumble mix we need plain flour, butter and demerara sugar (I used 二號砂糖). By weight, the ratio is about 180 flour : 120 butter : 100 sugar; or by volume: half a cup of sugar to 1⅓ cups of flour, with 120g of butter. You need enough mix to cover the top of the fruit about 1-1.5cm deep.
Ensure the butter is cold, cut it in to ~1cm cubes and add it to the flour in a large bowl. Rub the flour in to the butter by hand. Try to avoid grabbing the butter lumps directly as we don’t want them to melt. Shake the bowl to bring any large lumps to the top and keep going until all the mix is consistent with no large lumps or loose flour. Stir in the sugar at the end.
Gently pour out the crumble mix on to the fruit and use the back of a fork to spread it out evenly.
Use a hot oven, 190-200°C, and cook it until the crumble is golden brown. If the crumble is not baked thoroughly it will not taste good, so keep going until it looks really golden inside the oven - it won’t look so dark after it comes out. It normally takes between 30 to 50 minutes.
Enjoy alone, with custard, cream, creme-fraiche or ice-cream!