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feeling autumnal? The cold’s setting in and the leaves are delicately dropping from their boughs, falling in crunchy golden-orange piles upon the (almost) frosty ground. This time of year brings about visions of hot log fires, marshmallows melting, gooey and sticky, and brisk walks in the woods. But most of all, when you come home from a long day or a stroll in the fresh, crisp air, you want to indulge entirely and wholesomely in a comforting pie or tart – and that’s where the classic British apple crumble takes a twist for the season.
Served with gooey, warm, butterscotch sauce and a buttery biscuit base (yes, I said it!), I can assure you that in one sitting, more than two slices each of this crumble tart will be devoured. And if you’re feeling naughty, a spoonful of the butterscotch when no-one’s looking is heavenly. Shh, no-one has to know!
When making the pastry, which simply melts in your mouth, lace it with citrus and vanilla, flavours that’ll both warm and awaken the senses and when cooking the apples, be sure to dust over Christmassy spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The muscavado sugar in this recipe makes for a rich caramel sweetness and the oaty topping adds crunch. Well, you’re in for a treat. Take a look at my recipe for a winter warmer that’ll be just perfect for this weekend below.
Apple Crumble Tart with Butterscotch Sauce
For the pastry
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, diced
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 large free-range egg, beaten
A splash of milk
A pinch of ground nutmeg
For the apple crumble
6 cooking apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
100g unsalted butter, diced
100g plain flour
50g porridge oats
50g granulated sugar
35g dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the salted butterscotch sauce
1/2 cup muscovado
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbspgolden syrup
115g unsalted butter
1 cup double cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
+ 25cm fluted non-stick loose-bottomed tart tin
For the pastry:
1. To make the pastry, sieve your flour and icing sugar into a large pyrex bowl and mix with a spoon to combine. Add the cold diced butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Finely grate in the orange zest and then add the seeds from the vanilla pod. Mix again.
3. Add the egg and milk to the mixture and gently work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. It’s important at this stage to simply “bring the mixture together”. You do not want to work the pastry too much otherwise it’ll become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short as it should be.
4. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and on a clean work surface, pat it into the shape of a flat round about 2.5cm thick. Sprinkle over a little more flour, then wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least 30mins to chill.
5. Get yourself a 25cm non-stick loose-bottomed tart tin and butter the inside of the tin to prevent the dough from sticking to it once baked.
6. Dust a clean surface with a little flour and then roll your pastry out carefully, turning it every so often. Folding the pastry over your rolling pin, transfer to the buttered tin. Ease it in, pushing the pastry into the fluted edges. Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and then place in the freezer for 30mins.
7. Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.
8. Cut a circle a little larger than the tin itself and line the pastry tin. Fill with ceramic baking beans and bake blind for 10mins. Take the tin out of the oven after this time, remove the beans and return to the oven for another 10mins until it’s firm and biscuit-like, but not overly golden. Once ready, leave to cool in the tin.
For the apple crumble:
1. Turn your oven up to 190C/170C Fan/370F/Gas Mark 5.
2. Fill the pastry case with the the prepared apple slices – these do not need to be cooked beforehand.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients together quickly with your fingertips and pour over the top of the apples, spreading evenly right to the edges.
4. Bake for 35-40mins, until the apples are bubbling and the crumble mixture is a deep golden brown.
For the salted butterscotch sauce:
1. Add the muscovado, dark brown sugar, golden syrup and butter to a saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and stir gently until all the ingredients have come together. Boil for a few minutes until the sugar is melted and the mixture is gloopey and melded together.
3. Carefully add the cream and boil for a further 2-3mins.
4. Remove from the heat and add the fleur de sel, letting the sauce cool slightly until ready to serve.
N.B. The toffee sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Clotted cream and ice cream are also great additions if you don’t fancy the butterscotch sauce!
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver, Not Without Salt and the Borough Kitchen.