I like to pre bake my crumble topping first in order to make the flour easier to digest and subsequently you can shorten the baking time of the whole crumble, depending on what effect you want to achieve (basically deciding on the crunchiness of the fruit).
It as a classic English dessert that I often choose to make to celebrate the glorious early autumn fruit.
For the crumble topping:
For the fruit base:
Start with the crumble topping. In an electric mixer or by hand mix all the ingredients apart from the orange zest and chopped almonds. If using your hands, gently rub the ingredients together and toss all the time making sure you don’t overwork the crumble, or the butter will soften too much and you will loose the wanted crumbly consistency. Towards the end of this process stir in the grated almonds and the orange zest.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Layer the baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment and spread on the crumble topping evenly. Bake for a maximum of 15 minutes giving it a stir after 8-10 minutes of baking. Once that is done, take the tray out, give it another stir and let it cool.
To prepare the fruit base.
Put the sugar into a pan on a medium heat. Don’t stir as we want the sugar to caramelise, move or shake the pan instead. While the sugar is warming up, coarsely grate one apple (leave the skin on, it contains a lot of flavour) and once you see the sugar start to liquify add the grated apple to the pan.
In the meantime peel and cut the remaining apples into pieces.
Start stirring the grated apples in the pan, add the cinnamon and after a minute or so the chopped apples. Now sprinkle in the lemon juice and carry on stirring. The sugar should have dissolved by now. Now add the plums and a knob of butter. Carry on cooking for 2 minutes, give it a stir and make sure there is no sugar residue left on the bottom of the pan.
To assemble the crumble, spread the caramelised fruit in a baking dish and sprinkle the orange zest on top.
Now evenly cover the fruit with the prepared crumble topping making sure that all the fruit is covered.
Bake in the preheated oven to 180 C for 20-25 minutes. I like the fruit to still have some crunch but if you prefer it on the softer side, bake the crumble for a maximum of 10 minutes longer.
Serve while still warm with a dollop of a crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
For a heavenly rich version, pour around crème anglaise. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.