This classic British dessert is a perfect “comfort food”. Although a couple of the ingredients might be difficult to locate in some places, trust me – your efforts will be rewarded! I always get this dessert with the prix fixe menu at The Stockpot restaurant in London and have never been disappointed! Although the “crumble” part of this dish seems suspiciously like Grandma’s apple cobbler, it’s the custard that makes this dessert so sublime!
2 apples (Bramley apples are preferred but Granny Smith apples will do)
½ cup self-rising flour
2 + 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 + 1 tablespoons demerara sugar (substitute brown or Turbinado sugar if necessary)
4 tablespoons butter
1 lemon (optional, but a good idea)
1 heaping tablespoon Bird’s custard powder (available at British food shops)
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
10 oz. (1 cup + ¼ cup) milk
1 cutting board
1 small glass baking dish or disposable “tart” tins (exactly the same as “pot pie” tins)
1 large spoon
1 small “soup pot”
1 peeler (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Peel and slice the apples. If you’re using a small glass baking dish, put the sliced apples in the dish. If you’re using the tart tins, divide the apple slices up evenly between the tins.
3) OPTIONAL: Before going to the next step, squeeze the juice of the lemon over the apples. This prevents then from turning brown while you’re busy with the next steps. Make sure the juice covers the apples completely and pour off any excess.
4) Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over the apples.
5) Combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of demerara sugar in a small bowl.
6) Add the butter by rubbing it into the dry mixture; as you would for coffee cake topping don’t overmix. The mixture should be.. well, crumbly. This step is crucial – the butter needs to be spread evenly throughout the mixture, or else some parts will end up with raw flour on the top – which doesn’t brown and tastes nasty!
7) Spoon the mixture over the apples.
8) Sprinkle a tablespoon of demerara over the topping.
9) Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until golden brown).
10) While crumble is baking, wash the bowl and dry any spoons you have used – we’re gonna use them again in a second!
11) Place one heaping tablespoon of custard powder into the bowl.
12) Add ½ tablespoon of granulated sugar to the custard power.
13) Add 1 tablespoon cold milk to the custard-sugar mixture and stir well. If the mixture becomes too tough to stir or lumps into a solid, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until you get a liquid that is the color of egg yolks.
14) Heat remaining milk in small pot just until it begins to boil, then add milk to custard powder mixture (not the other way around).
15) Stir the mixture vigorously then return to the pot and heat briefly, stirring constantly.
16) Spoon cooked apple crumble into a bowl or plate. Traditionally, apple crumble is served in a bowl with the custard to one side of the bowl (as opposed to pouring it over the crumble). Note that both crumble and custard should be served while still hot.