This year, the plentiful rain and hot sun have resulted in an early, bumper crop of apples.
Britain’s favourite cooking apple is the Bramley, a variety that’s now over 200 years old, and the earliest records in 1862 record the first ever commercial transaction – a sale of “three Bramley apples treees for 2/- to Mr Geo Cooper of Upton Hall”.
Ideal for cooking, with its tart flavour and readiness to break down to a puree, Bramleys quickly increased in popularity and were planted extensively at the turn of the 20th century, providing food during the First and Second World Wars.
If you love Bramley apples or are lucky enough to have a tree in your own garden, you’ll love this recipe for an unusual apple crumble pie.
For the pastry:
- 125g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 55g butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
- 800g Bramley apples
- 100g sugar, plus a little extra
For the crumble:
- 85g plain flour
- 85g butter, cubed
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Start by making the pastry. Put the butter in a large bowl, cut it into cubes and add the flour. Using your fingertips, rub the flour into the fat until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, and add half the water. Work the mixture together until it forms a soft dough, adding a little more water if necessary.
- Turn the pastry out onto a floured surface, and roll it out to about 1/2 cm thick and about 3cm larger than your pie dish (a shallow 23cm one works well). Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin, transfer it to the dish and unroll it, pressing it firmly into the corners and trimming off the excess. Prick the base all over with a fork, and blind bake in the over for around 8 minutes.
- Peel and core the apples, and cut the flesh into pieces. Put them in a large pan with a little water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are soft and pulpy. Allow to cool, then add sugar to taste. When completely cold, transfer the apples to the pastry case.
- Finally, make the crumble topping. Put the flour and butter in a large bowl and rub them together with your fingertips. When the mixture looks like rough breadcrumbs (it won’t look like fine breadcrumbs as the pastry did, as there’s less fat to absorb the flour), stir in the sugar and hazelnuts.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crumble topping is pale golden and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before serving with clotted cream, ice cream or custard.
Apple themed home accessories
Mad about apples? We love these apple themed home ideas:
Red apples apron, Free Spirit Designs
Prepare your home-grown produce in style wearing this contemporary apple print apron, made from a quality linen/cotton blend fabric printed with an original design. £26.20 from Free Spirit Designs.
Green apple mug, Lotte Kühlhorn for Koloni Stockholm
Enjoy a well-earned cup of tea with your pie from this fine bone china mug with its bold, simple apple design. £9.50, available from the Scandinavian Shop.
Willlow apple platter, Vintage Trading
Made from brown unstripped willow, this simple round willow platter will help store apples attractively until you’re ready for them. It’s available in two sizes, 38cms diameter and 34cms diameter, and costs from £25 to £29 from Vintage Trading.
By Sara Walker