Thursday, October 31, 2013

Apple Crumble

Everybody should have a basic crumble recipe in their back pocket.

Once you have that down (and it's not at all hard to master), it can go on top of anything; fruit, muffins, cakes...

It can also be adapted however you like; add nuts, rolled oats, maybe some dessicated coconut, a hint of your favourite spice(s)...

I prefer to make my crumble by hand because I like the texture of a handmade crumble better. However, it can also be made in a food processor and that is actually the better approach during very hot weather, when the cold butter that the recipe calls for almost immediately turns to liquid. Or, you know, if you just don't want to get your hands dirty, then you could use a food processor too.

I've always made a crumble with the proportions given below and they're pretty perfect, so I've no reason to mess with them (I can't remember where I first saw the recipe; must have been one of my cookbooks). However, I haven't made an apple crumble in ages and recently, as I was attempting one for the blog, I couldn't quite get the quantity of apples right. Finally I came across a recipe on Bon Appetit which had just the right crumble-to-apple ratio.

Apple Crumble
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 oz butter, cold and cut into cubes
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar

1 lb (450g) apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F (180⁰C).
2. Add the flour, sugar, and oats (if using) to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add butter.
3. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture looks crumbly. You want to try and get the mixture as fine as you can but it's fine if there are some big bits of butter in there. The topping should look something like the photo below:
(To make the crumble in a food processor: Add the flour and sugar to the food processor. Process for 2 to 3 seconds to combine. Add the butter and process for 2 to 3 seconds at a time until the mixture resembles a crumble.)

4. Refrigerate the crumble mixture while you prepare the apples.
5. Peel the apples, halve them, remove the cores, and slice each half into four to six slices.
6. Add the sliced apples to a mixing bowl, add the cinnamon, lemon juice, and flour; mix well.
7. Add the apples to a small baking dish and sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit.
8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden brown.
9. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, custard, or cream. Store leftovers, covered, in refrigerator.
Serves 3 to 4.

For 6 to 8 servings, double the recipe and bake in a 8x8-inch square dish for 40 to 50 minutes.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chocolate Pudding

I had a pretty brutal wisdom tooth extraction last month. 

I couldn't eat anything hot the first day and couldn't chew for quite a few days after that.

One side of my face was very swollen and I didn't really want to go anywhere out in public with my asymmetrical face. No matter how much I tried to hide it with my hair, it still looked like I had stuffed a golf ball in my mouth.

I had taken time off work so I hadn't much to do. 

The only thing I really could do was get into the kitchen to occupy myself.

But what was I going to make that I could actually eat at the end too?

Answer: chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Pudding 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 tablespoons cornflour 
1½ cups full-fat milk
¼ cup caster sugar
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoons instant coffee powder
4 oz semisweet chocolate (I used Cadbury's Bournville; you can use semisweet chocolate chips as well, or use dark chocolate if that's what you prefer)

  1. Add 1 cup milk, sugar, salt, and coffee to a saucepan and place on low heat, whisking occasionally.
  2. Dissolve the cornflour in the remaining ½ cup of milk.
  3. When the milk mixture in the saucepan starts to bubble at the edges, whisk in the cornflour mixture. 
  4. Add the chocolate and stir until it has melted.
  5. Once the pudding comes up to a boil and thickens, remove from heat.
  6. Pour the pudding into ramekins or bowls. To prevent a skin forming, cover the pudding surface with cling film.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Makes 3 servings.