I don’t like to eat “common” fruits. I am not trying to be a difficult eater. My theory is that there are so many different types of fruits, why are we restricting ourselves to just apples, pears and oranges (my definition of common fruits in my part of the world). In addition, my parents fed me with these fruits for a good decade – I am sick of them.
However on a rare occasion, I will hit jackpot and discover a variety of apples or oranges that I have yet to try. I was shopping for the ingredients for my apple crumble that I uncovered Italian Modi® apples*.
I almost gave this apple a miss as it looks exactly like a Red Delicious (which by the way is the worst apple on Earth). I gave the apple a sniff and it smell good. While some people pinch and poke fruits to test its freshness, for me is smell. If the fruit exudes a strong fruity smell, I know it will be good. Modi apples are a cross breed between Liberty and Gala apples. Hence they are sweet, crisp and juicy which are the traits of Liberty and Gala. The flesh of Modi apple startled me – it is yellow. I always associate yellow flesh with mushiness. But it was not mushy at all. And I quite like the sweet and subtle tart flavour. I thought this will be a great addition to my apple crumble.
For my apple crumble, I like to use a combination of eating and cooking (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) apples. In this way, you get bits of soft fruits yet with a bite. Furthermore cooking apples tend to be really sharp so adding apples like Modi helps to counter-balance the tartness. The beauty of the crumble is that you can use any leftover fruits (aka the forgotten fruits in that dark corner of your fridge), and you can prep the ingredients and bake when it is time to serve.
The end result is you will get juicy plump fruits topped with crisp crumble. Depending on the fruits you used, you will also a hint of sourness to cut through the richness of the brown sugar caramel. Making apple crumble is also a great way to get kids or adults who don’t like fruits to include them in their diets.
I like to add nuts like walnuts, pecans in my crumble for crunch and flavour. If you have nuts allergic, you can easily omit them. It will not impact the flavour greatly.
Serves 4 people
1) 450g-488g apples (This is about 3 apples. I used the ratio of 2:1 – 2 Granny Smith apples to 1 Modi apple; you can use Golden Delicious but I find them at times mushy and expensive.)
2) 1 tablespoon lemon juice (slightly less than half a lemon)
3) 30ml apple cider/ apple juice (2 tablespoons)
4) 15g unsalted butter, melted
5) 20g all-purpose flour
6) 30g brown sugar
7) ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8) A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
9) A pinch of (kosher) salt (table salt is fine)
1) 60g old fashioned rolled oats (not the quick cooking ones)
2) 40g walnuts or pecans, roasted and chopped (¼ cup)
3) 30g all-purpose flour
4) ¼ teaspoon (kosher) salt (table salt is fine)
5) ¼ baking powder
6) 30g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
7) 30g brown sugar
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix in the dry ingredients – flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (if using) and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, pour in the lemon juice and set aside.
- Prep the apples – peel, core, quarter and halve each quarter in wedges. Chopped the wedges into 0.5” chunks. Put the chunks of apple into the bowl of lemon juice. This will prevent the oxidation of the apples.
- Add in the melted butter, apple cider (or apple juice) and the dry ingredients mix in the large bowl of chopped apples, and mix well. Make sure every piece of the chopped apple is coated with the thick brown sugar syrup. Once this is done, cover it with a tea towel or cling film, and put the bowl in the fridge to rest while you prepare the crumble.
- Preheat the oven to 180oC.
- In a large bowl, except the butter, add in all the ingredients and mix well. Once mixed, add in the butter.
- Using either your fingers (make sure they are clean and dry) or pastry blender, rub the butter in the dry ingredients. I like to use my fingers as I can break down any lumps by rubbing it against both hands. It is important not to overwork the mix as it may clump up especially when the butter starts to soften.
- Once the butter is rubbed in, set the crumble aside. Don’t be overly concern if you have small bits of lumps.
- Butter a 7” baking loaf pan** – in my case, I used a 7” oval-shaped casserole dish. You can use any oven proof pan – you just need to make sure it can contain the apple crumble and fill it to the brim.
- Remove the apple filling from the fridge and give it a good mix. Add the apple filling into the casserole dish, make sure to pack the apples as tightly as you can. Remember to add in any remaining syrup in the bowl into the casserole dish.
- Once the apple filling is added in, sprinkle the crumble evenly on top of the apple filling. If you spot any gaps in between the apples, fill it with the crumble. Make sure the crumble is packed tightly – you may want to gently pat it down. An important note – you need to ensure the sides of the casserole dish are sealed with crumble – this is to prevent any liquid from bubbling to the surface and leave you with a soggy crumble.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes – the crumble should be golden brown and crisp.
- Once done, remove from the oven to cool slightly. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or custard.
*Modi apple is pretty pricey. When I bought it from Cold Storage, it was $0.95 an apple. This apple is only available from September to May, so go grab some.
**A little trick – I used my casserole dish to melt the butter needed for the apple filling (in the oven over the low temperature of 100oC). After you have poured the melted butter in the filling, there is always a bit of leftover in the dish. Using a paper towel or hand (make sure the dish is cooled), wipe the leftover melted butter all over the dish. In this way, you do not need to wash an additional pan and you get to butter your dish.