The perfect toffee apple crumble
Inspired by memories of Britain’s Bonfire Night, our celebrity chef columnist Gary Rhodes cooks a toffee apple crumble
I adore crumbles, and I always remember being given toffee apples as a young lad on November 5th – Bonfire Night in Britain. We would enjoy them while we were watching the firework display. I was thinking to myself “what could I do to recreate that kind of flavour, while also taking it to another level?” I came up with this crumble recipe. This is a simple ABC crumble, with fudge added for that little something special: there’s apple, there’s a basic crumble topping (which we all know is just flour, butter and sugar) and there’s fudge.
The apples have been sitting in the bowl for a few days, so you take those, peel them, chop them into chunks and throw them into a baking dish. Then you chop up any flavoured fudge you like. I use a really basic vanilla fudge here, but if you wanted some with pistachio in it, or a little bit of alcohol or raisins running through it, that would work too. You could buy white chocolate fudge, or dark chocolate fudge.
I used very soft fudge, but you can also get the chewy fudge, which will give you thicker, stickier syrup that will melt around those apples. All of those would be delicious. I also love making this dish with chopped pecan nuts, but you could add chopped hazelnuts, or you could sprinkle almonds in the crumble. I like having it with cream rather than custard. You already have that richness of the toffee, so it’s quite nice to have something plain and simple to give you a different temperature from the toffee apple.
I love just a well- refrigerated, thick cream poured all over it. But if you fancied custard or vanilla ice cream, they are equally good. If you go for the custard, I’m a fresh custard man, there’s no two ways about it. But do I have the old Bird’s custard sitting in my cupboard? Yeah, I do. There are those moments when you don’t want to be separating eggs. You can knock one up in minutes, and you can still put in some fresh vanilla or good-quality vanilla essence just to liven it up that little bit more. Once you have that basic crumble recipe, you can really put anything in there and serve anything with it.
200g plain flour (sifted), 100g cold butter (diced), plus extra for greasing, 50g caster sugar, five to six large apples (peeled, cored and quartered), 150g fudge (roughly chopped)
Pre-heat the oven to 190 ̊C, place the flour and the diced butter in a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, as coarse or fine as you wish. Stir the caster sugar into three or four apple chunks. Grease a 1.8-litre pudding dish and fill with apple chunks and the chopped fudge. Top with the crumble mix and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, leaving to rest for a few minutes before serving.