Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Winter and Dessert Classic - Blackberry and Apple Crumble with Vanilla Custard

For all of you dessert lovers out there. This one's for you. 

As Gregg from MasterChef would say, this is a great big snog of a pudding. A pudding that gives you a hug. 

He's not wrong. 

Crumble is a winter staple and the combination of blackberries apples and cinnamon couldn't scream Christmas and fires and comfort any more if it tried. 

I made this the other day for a dinner party I was catering but as individual little puddings to make them a bit smarter. Have a glance at them here on my facebook page...

However when I was at home and we had an old family friend coming round for supper, I was put in charge of the pudding (and of course ended up cooking everything). I decided to do this again simply so I could show you lot. I've even gone the extra mile and made vanilla custard because quite frankly, if you're going to eat pud, eat it properly. 

You will need: 

4 Cooking Apples
2 Packs of Blackberries 
Brown Sugar 
A drop or 2 of water 

For the topping:
Porridge oats 
Brown Sugar

6 Egg Yolks 
250ml Double Cream 
250ml Milk
2 vanilla pods or some vanilla essence 
50g Sugar 

Lets crack on with the crumble shall we? First things first, pour yourself and your sous chef a glass of wine and put on your iPod. 

Next peel all the apples

Core them and chop them into chunks roughly about this sort of size. Pop them into a saucepan. 

Now add a dash of water to them 

Some cinnamon 

Add some brown sugar (I’m sorry there are no measurements, we went by taste)

Now put these onto a low heat to start to stew. If you have to take your eye off them make sure someone is watching. Tilly (the 4 legged one this time) took over this task. 

Soon it will be time to add the blackberries. I’ve got frozen ones here because Mum couldn't find any fresh ones. They work just as well. Pop these on top of your apples and give them a good stir, but gently. You don't want puree! 

When these have cooked down a bit have a taste. Then you can add more sugar or cinnamon as you see fit.

As soon as this is looking pretty cooked. Turn it off and leave it to one side. 

Now it’s on to the topping. Again I have no quantities which greatly annoyed Maddie, whose job it was to crumble. So I just whacked a suitable looking amount of butter and flour into a bowl and told her to start rubbing. 

Rubbing is the act of literally rubbing flour and butter through your finger tips small bits at a time to make a bread crumb consistency. 

Maddie is demonstrating this so very well here. 

When you have said 'breadcrumbs' bulk out the mixture with oats and brown sugar. If you look like you have enough to cover your crumble then you are done! 

Now it’s on to the custard. 

I don’t like custard, at all. This is a whole new story though; it’s like a big puddle of melted vanilla ice cream. I can deal with that. Not that yellow gloop that comes out of a tin and looks like you could start brick laying with it. 

To begin, separate out your eggs yolk from the whites. Don't throw the whites away, keep them. You could make meringues; or if your feeling so inclined to eat something as exciting as cardboard the next day for breakfast, you could make an egg white omelet. It's my professional advice though to not eat egg white omelets. 

Now add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk.

These need to be whisked so that they change colour and become really pale. 

Look at the colour difference in mine. I would tell you why, but I've forgotten. Sorry. 

Whilst these are whisking get Maddie to fill a saucepan with the milk and cream and scrap out the vanilla pod and add the seeds to the pan. If you are using essence, such as I did here, add it to the egg yolks you are currently whisking. 

Put that pan on the heat and gently bring to a simmer, but DO NOT BOIL.  

Now comes for the tricky bit. Once the liquid is simmering and your eggs are nice and pale, add half the liquid into the eggs and stir quickly. 

Now put that back into the pan with the rest of the milk and cream. Stir continuously.  

The egg will start to cook and thicken, but you have to do this gently or you will end up with lumps of egg. I've used a spatula here as I find its the best thing to get all round in the saucepan. Keep stirring, moving the pan on and off the heat if it gets too hot. 

Once you can pull a finger through the mixture and the line stays then the custard is thick enough. 

If your not serving it straight away sieve it into another bowl and leave to cool in cold water so it stops cooking. Sieving it means if there are any lumps in your mixture you get rid of them. 

Now going back to your crumble. I always put it in when we sit down for mains. So whack your oven up to high (200degrees C), put the apple and blackberry mix in an appropriate dish and sprinkle a generous layer of crumble on the top. Pop it in the oven and then sit down for dinner!! 

It should be nice and bubbling by the time you take it out. Heat up your custard again, gently!!! 

Spoon out big lovely bowlfuls with piles of custard on top. 


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