While I don't follow a recipe for crumble topping in terms of the ingredients themselves, I never hold the proportions of flour to sugar to butter in my head. My 'go to' sanity checker (as I may have previously mentioned), is a Delia recipe from her Complete Cookery Course. She recommends flour, sugar and butter - and if you fancy going out on a limb (go on, you know you want to) you could replace some of the flour with oats.
Well, I like to go completely crazy and use ground almonds too, as well as oats, and although I always start off with Delia's proportions, I usually reduce down the sugar especially if I've added sugar to the fruit - which I did on Sunday in fact as I was using up the last of the bullace plums with some more of the apples.
You might say that it's a pointless exercise me even opening the book at all - but I feel like it's become part of the ritual of making crumble, which is after all the pudding I make most often from September to March.
Or it was.
While I was ignoring Delia's crumble instructions in preparation for said crumble last week (it was a very good crumble by the way - a sprinkle of all spice and some brown sugar over the apples & plums - yummers), my eye strayed north on the page to the method of a recipe the ingredients for which are listed on the previous page. Specifically to the phrases "...gently fold in the ground almonds...spread this mixture over the apples...equally good served warm or cold - either way it's nice with some chilled pouring cream"
So yes, you guessed it. Sold to the lady with the insatiable love of all things almond and a bag of windfalls to deal with.
I made this the next day and it is a LOVELY pudding for Autumn or Winter. A bit more faff than a crumble, granted, but the combination of the cooked apples with the almost frangipane topping - well, it's my idea of heaven.
I expect you'll enjoy it too.
Apple & Almond Bake
4-6 medium/large cooking apples
50g soft brown sugar
110g ground almonds
110g soft, unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
You'll also need a baking dish, about 1 litre capacity - butter this.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a pan with the soft brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water and cook down till they are starting to break up and go soft and fluffy - how long this takes will depend on the apples you are using. Keep an eye on them and make sure they don't burn.
When they've reached the required state of fluffiness, spread over the bottom of the buttered dish.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar till pale and fluffy, then add the egg a little at a time, beating after every addition. As with a sponge cake, it pays to go slowly here to stop the mixture curdling. But don't worry too much.
Using a metal spoon, fold in the ground almonds, then spread the mixture over the top of the apples, making sure they are evenly covered.
Pop this in the oven on a high shelf and bake for around an hour till golden on top and cooked.
As St Delia says, equally good served hot or cold, and exceptionally good with some cream...