I told you I was going to try to make my own apple crumble. I went with a Gordon Ramsay recipe because the video on YouTube made it look easy and interesting, mainly because it wasn’t just apples dumped into a pan and baked with flour, butter, and oats on top.
It’s a pretty easy recipe to follow; I snapped a few pictures along the way and have a few comments to make on a few of the steps.
The base starts with a simple caramel made by just heating sugar in a heavy bottomed pan. I’d recommend not using stainless steel for this, as it conducts heat a little too well. The caramel can burn quickly. Also, as Ramsay says, don’t mix it with a utensil; swirl the pan to get the caramel to spread.
Once the caramel is ready, half of the apples (shredded) go into the caramel. The additional liquid from the apples helps the caramel stop sticking, very much like deglazing the pan.
As the apples cook in the pan, the caramel will harden and soften as the apples exude liquid. As it hardened a bit, I added the chunks of apples, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, lemon juice, and dried cranberries.
I let that go for a few minutes and combined the stuff for the crumble topping.
I had the apples on the heat and carefully distributed the crumble topping. Once the apples started bubbling through the topping just a little, it went into the oven.
The recipe says 12-14 minutes at 400°F, but it took 25 minutes for the crumb to crisp. (Always use your own discretion when you follow a recipe.)
I let it cool down for a good 20 minutes before digging in.
It was very good.
What I liked about it was that the apple base wasn’t pasty. A lot of times I’ve had apple crisp, the apples are tossed in flour, and that leads to a bit of an uncooked flour texture. I think the point of the flour is to have it tighten up like a sauce as the apples bake; by starting with a caramel base, you effectively do the same thing without adding flour to thicken. It also gives the dessert the taste of candy apples, which is pretty awesome.
The amount of flour in the topping seems a little high. I’d either bump up the amount of butter or back off on the amount of flour in the future. The museli had some slivered almonds, which really brought some great flavor and texture to the dessert. I’ll add in even more almonds next time.
Between the vanilla and the cinnamon, the base was spiced nicely. It did have a lot of acidity going on, and I wasn’t terribly keen on that. Next time, I’ll probably back off on the amount of lemon zest and juice and even leave the dried cranberries out. I know the cranberries are there by design to add tartness and texture to the crumble, but, honestly, they’re not necessary.
But anyway, whether you want to call it crumble or crisp, it’s delicious, and if you’re in the northeast, now is the time of the year where you could trip over enough apples to make your own.