Apple and Calvados Crumble

November 25, 2021

It’s a classic English dessert celebrating the glorious autumn fruit. The French twist on it comes from the addition of calvados, an apple brandy from Normandy, which I love using when baking with apples.

I always 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).

For the crumble topping:

  • 110 g of butter, cold and cubed
  • 110 g of plain flour 
  • 40 g of ground almonds
  • 30 g of fine white sugar
  • 30 g of brown sugar
  • a couple of pinches of grated orange zest
  • a handful of coarsely chopped almonds (not too fine) to add crunch to the texture

For the fruit base:

  • 5 large apples of your choice, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fine sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter 
  • 50-80 ml of calvados
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon juice if needed  (if the apples are not sour enough)

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.

Melt the butter in a pan and once it starts to foam add the sugar. Give it a good stir and add the chopped apples into the pan. Cook them for a few minutes and once the sugar has fully dissolved pour in the calvados. Cook everything gently until the Calvados bubbles away. Taste and drizzle with some lemon juice if needed. Carry on cooking the apples, stirring them gently, until you reach the right consistently. Apples should soften but still retain some crunch. They will carry on cooking further in the oven.

To assemble the crumble:

Spread the fruit in a baking dish and cover it evenly 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. If it starts to brown too quickly cover the baking dish loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil.

Serve whilst still warm with a dollop of a crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

For a heavenly rich version, pour crème anglaise on top. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.