“This is the ultimate crumble. It has taste, texture, acidity and sweetness. You get toffee apple and apple crumble all together, what more could you want?!”
- 4 Bramley apples
- 4 Cox’s apples
- 100g butter, cubed
- 100g caster sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- clotted cream, vanilla custard or crème fraiche, to serve
FOR THE TOFFEE
- vegetable oil, for greasing
- 450g soft dark brown sugar
- 125ml water
- 130g golden syrup
- 100g black treacle
- 1tsp cream of tartar
FOR THE PASTRY
- 225g butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 400g plain white flour, plus extra for rolling out the pastry
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- 200g plain white flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 80g butter, softened
- 35g ground almonds
- 10g flaked almonds
First, make the toffee. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, grease it with vegetable oil and leave to one side. Place the dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Make sure the sugar has completely dissolved before the water boils.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the golden syrup, black treacle and cream of tartar to the pan, return it to the heat and boil until the mix reaches 140ºC on an instant-read thermometer. This will take a while, but be patient and don’t leave it. It can burn very easily! Once the mix reaches the correct temperature, pour it straight into the lined tray and leave to cool at room temperature.
To make the pastry, place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together until light and creamy. Add the egg yolk and sift over the flour, then just mix until the pastry comes together. Do not overwork. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the pastry case, preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3 and place a 25cm tart ring on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. After the pastry has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2cm thick. Line the tart ring with the pastry. Press in a piece of clingfilm, then fill with baking beans or rice. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, or until it is crisp and golden brown. Very gently, remove the pastry case from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the filling, peel and dice the Bramley and Cox’s apples and leave them to one side separately. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the sugar and orange zest, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add half of the Bramley apples and the cinnamon stick and stir over a medium-high heat until the apples break down into a purée. Add the rest of the diced apples and gently stir for 1-2 minutes to just soften them, then remove the pan from the heat. Pour the mix into a colander over a bowl to strain off any excess liquid and leave to cool. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Meanwhile, reheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. To make the crumble topping, mix the flour, sugar, butter and ground almonds together until the mix resembles large breadcrumbs. Mix in the flaked almonds. Place this mix in a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and crumbly. Make sure you stir it every five minutes so it colours evenly. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the crumble topping to cool. Do not turn off the oven.
To assemble the tart, spoon the apple filling into the pastry. Break the toffee into chunks and place a few over the top of the apple. Completely cover with the toasted crumble and then dot a few more piece of toffee on top. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the filling is bubbling hot and the toffee has melted. Remove the crumble from the oven and leave to stand for a few minutes. Serve with clotted cream, vanilla custard or crème fraiche…or all of them!