Cold weather calls for comfort food, and for me the ultimate comfort food is apple crumble. Toasty, warming and dangerously easy to eat (and make), crumble is my winter go-to dessert.
A staple in our house when I was growing up, I think crumble was one of the first things I learnt to cook. It’s incredibly forgiving, endlessly adaptable and my personal favourite – really doesn’t require exact measurements. A bit of this and a dash of that and you almost always end up with something delicious.
This deconstructed version couldn’t be easier to make and because the crumble and fruit are cooked separately, it keeps really well – making a quick dessert (or breakfast!) a breeze. Slow roasting the fruit in verjuice and vanilla syrup makes the pears beautiful and sweet and gives the apples a lovely jammy quality – perfect topped with a generous tumble of toasty crumble and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Apple & pear crumble
1 cup verjuice
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 150ºC.
Combine verjuice, caster sugar and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and place over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool whilst you cut up the fruit.
Halve pears and apples and remove cores with a melon baller (or a teaspoon). Place fruit cut-side up in a baking dish and pour over verjuice syrup.
Cover the surface of the fruit with a piece of baking paper and then cover baking dish with foil. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 2 hours or until fruit is soft and yielding and starting to caramelise (I like to baste the fruit with syrup a few times during cooking to keep it juicy and golden).
Whilst the fruit is cooking, you can get on with making the crumble topping. Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and work the butter through with your fingers until you have a course crumb. Set aside until fruit is cooked.
Once your fruit is out of the oven, increase the temperature to 180ºC. Spread crumble mixture in a thin layer over a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove tray from oven and use a fork to separate crumble mix. Return to oven for a few minutes if necessary until it is lovely and toasty brown.
To serve, arrange fruit on a large serving platter and top with crumble and generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.