September is half way done and the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, where our British branch of Piglet is based, has never looked more bountiful. An unwinding lunchtime walk (one of the many perks of working here) was the perfect excuse to multi-task and forage for some juicy Autumn blackberries to create that most quintessentially British of desserts: crumble. A definite family pleaser and absolutely delightful after a Sunday roast, this version features Sussex apples from Wobblegate Orchards in Bolney and the wild blackberries from the estate. You can, of course, use whatever fruit you have on hand but I find orchard fruits do work best as they manage to retain some of their texture and are currently at their most delicious.
For the filling:
6 large apples (these were nice and tart but feel free to use a mixture of eating apples and cooking apples to achieve the perfect balance)
100g demerara sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
For the crumble mix:
140g soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
180g cold unsalted butter
Handful of chopped cobnuts (optional but delicious)
- Peel, core and chop the apples into quite large cubes. You want these large enough to preserve some texture in the final bake.
- Combine the demerara sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Place half the apples in a baking dish and sprinkle with a third of the sugar mixture.
- Tumble over the blackberries and another third of the cinnamon mix.
- Scatter the other half of the prepared apples and the remaining sugar/cinnamon blend.
- To make the crumble mix, stir the flour, brown sugar and oats in a bowl.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add it to the bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Cover the fruit with the crumble. If you are using cobnuts (these are a British nut, available in early Autumn and rather similar to hazelnuts), crack and roughly chop them then strew over the crumble.
- Pop into a preheated oven (170C/340F) for about 40 minutes or until the crumble mixture is lovely and golden.
- Enjoy with lashings of fresh vanilla custard (queue drooling).