When we moved to our little cottage in the countryside a couple of months ago, we were delighted to find a little apple tree in our garden. This year it wasn’t the most productive of trees, though. On the other hand, my neighbor’s apple tree, half of which overhangs to my side of the garden, is having a bumper harvest season. The apples keep dropping on my little patch of grass faster than I can collect them.
I asked my neighbor if he wanted them back (they were his apples after all), but he kindly refused and said I could keep them. Not being very keen on waste, that meant I had to get creative about using them before they ended up in the bin. After a bit of internet research (let’s face it, I am not Julia Child), I found a recipe for apple crumble, easy enough for my toddler and I to undertake safely. I tweaked it from its original, so I suppose I can say that it now belongs to us.
1 lb Apples cut into chunks
1 Tbls Flour
1 Tbls Brown sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Brown Sugar
14 Tbs Butter (about 2 sticks)
Here’s how we did it:
Started with about a pound of apples from the tree, I have no idea what variety they were. They tasted a bit tart, but definitely were not cooking apples. I also had a couple of sad looking apples I had bought in the supermarket, sitting in the fruit bowl, that were still very much edible but had lost their crunch appeal. I peeled and cored the lot, and then cut them in small cubes and placed them at the bottom of a buttered cake tin (mine is actually made of silicone, but I guess the material is irrelevant).
My toddler sprinkled them with a tablespoon of plain flour, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon and then mixed them.
Separately, with our fingers, we mixed 2 cups (about 5 oz each) of plain flour, a cup of brown sugar and 200 g (about 7 oz) of unsalted butter until they resembled medium breadcrumbs.
We covered the apple mixture with the crumble and cooked in the oven (preheated at 180 C/350 F) for about 40 minutes, when the crumble was golden and we could see the apples in the bottom were bubbling. It was very nice served warm with vanilla ice cream.
It is apple season and there are still plenty on my neighbor’s tree. They are one of the most humble and common fruits we have at home. They are also the third most wasted type of food in the U.K. [Ventour, Lorrayne (April 2008). The food we waste (PDF) p. 27]. But humble as they are, they make amazing comfort food, especially as the days are getting colder. So as long as the tree keeps dropping apples, we will continue to cook them, but never to bin them.