Crunchy apple (Apple Crumble
or apple crisp)
As I have commented on other occasions, if I had to keep a single product for pastries, I would choose the apple without hesitation. It never ceases to amaze me its versatility and the very different results obtained in confectionery. Perhaps that is why, the apple in the kitchen is the queen of fruits, because it is used in a very diverse way and combines very well with almost everything. In addition, from a dietary point of view, it is considered very healthy for its nutrients; there we have the wise saying: an apple a day of doctors would save you. Its varieties are innumerable, as well as its colors that go from almost white to dark red, going through a wide range of other shades.
I love to cook the apple in all ways; its scent floods my house and emanates a feeling of home, like that place where we take refuge after the arduous task of survival, while outside, pounding falls, metaphorically or literally.
The apple is the fruit that is closest to the human being. Sorry for turning to semantics (the discipline that studies the meaning of words) to justify this statement. Within semantic theories, there is one known as “that of the prototype” that argues that within any category of elements there is always one more representative (or prototypical), i.e. for being more frequent than the others. If we examine the category of “fruit”, formed by all the existing fruits, the apple is the prototype of fruit for man. This is not simply speculation but is supported by experimental evidence. If a person is asked which fruit comes to mind first, or which fruit seems most representative of the “fruit” genus, they almost unanimously answer “apple.”
Today I am going to talk about one of the simplest, cheapest and most ingenious apple recipes (you only really need apples, flour, butter, and sugar), and that is why it has always been used in great economic hardship. It is the recipe for crises par excellence; I’m referring to the crispy apple (English Apple Crumble).
The “apple crisp” (British “apple crumble” or “American apple crisp”) is perhaps my favorite apple dessert.It is a relatively modern dish, which appears in 1924 in the book of Elizabeth Ely Lord Everybody’s Cook Book: A Comprehensive Manual of Home Cookery, Isabel Ely Lord (Harcout Brace and Company: New York) 1924, and in parallel a newspaper article is also published in the Post Crescent Appleton (December 9, 1924) with this recipe. However, it seems it is much earlier and since 1896 it is included in the cookbook of Fannie Framen, one of the first popular cooks in the United States. In the United Kingdom it became popular during World War II, due to food shortages and strict rationing. Today it is a classic in both America and the UK, especially during the fall, when apples are in full season.
In my case, it is also associated with one of my stages of war economy, that there have been a few in my life, and that according to my children, arouse great creativity in me. Well, to make a long story short, when I lived in England and came home from exhausting work, I inexorably came across my boring Brussels sprouts (I mean this episode in Salads / Vegetables) but then my employer (landlady, one of the most British institutions of the time) appeared with a generous piece of Apple Crumble hot whatI made the fruit of an apple tree in the garden, and that dessert became a new delight in the catalog of my flavors, which added to the memory of the leafy tree that almost touched my window and whose vision made me happy in the morning, still it gives me a special emotion.
The worst thing is that, since my interests of that time were not only culinary, it did not occur to me to get the recipe; And I have had to go through a real pilgrimage to get “a crispy apple”, similar to the extraordinary of my patron, Mrs. Shersby. After many years and without ceasing in the effort, a close friend who lived many years in England, and is a great cook, gave me the recipe of Mrs. Pierce, a Yorkshire peasant who made a crumble spectacular, almost equal to that of my time of hardship. Well, talking about hardship is something I think now, really what was happening was that England had other priorities among which was not food but a world in which everything was new and unknown, such as theater, exhibitions, my travels and the last book that was in fashion. And for the sake of truth, I was not even trading good food for a real war economy, where brussels sprouts were the cheapest vegetable I could feed on and insane sausages the only proteins. But as it is commonly said “scabies with pleasure does not itch”, and “in good hunger there is no hard bread”.
For the apple:
-5 or 6 apples with intense flavor (granny smith, fuji, starkling, ragweed, etc., but never pippins).
-1 tablespoon of peach jam
For the crispy:
-120 gr. leavened or biscuit flour
-80 gr. of sugar
-80 gr. of butter
-1 tablespoon of ground almonds
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon salt
– liquid but very thick cream of the type crème fraiche from “President” or “Kaiku” or a scoop of ice cream.
1. Peel the apples and peel them:
2. You cut them into quarters and also into slices that you then divide into smaller pieces, as if they were for an omelette:
3. Put them in a non-stick frying pan to cook without anything (if the frying pan sticks you add one or two tablespoons of water). Mine doesn’t have any water.
4. You cook it to the minimum and covered at times:
5. When about 30 or 40 minutes have passed, it will be there and then you add the tablespoon of jam and continue stirring for a few minutes:
6. For the crisp, mix the sifted flour (passed through a strainer) and the sugar. Add the butter very cold in pieces and the pinch of salt and amalgamate with your fingers until it acquires the consistency of some crumbs (crumble), I usually say that the flour with cold butter must be crumbled with your fingers and amalgamated with flour to make it look like we do sandcastles on the beach; then, add the ground almonds and cinnamon; This is how it will look.
7. To mount the plate, Spread the apple on a refractory plate with the crispy on top and sprinkle with cinnamon, and in the oven. It will come out with this little color of the photo, and with a dessert appearance of 100 years ago:
8. It will be kept in the oven at 180º for about 30 minutes and it will come out toasted like that. You serve it hot or warm with thick liquid cream (crème fraiche of President or Kaiku), or with a scoop of buttered ice cream, or with a bottom of custard (custard) that the English always make commercial powders (Bird’s is the brand) and it is frankly good, but I prefer thick cream:
9. You serve it hot or warm with thick liquid cream (crème fraiche of President or Kaiku), or with a scoop of buttered ice cream, or with a bottom of custard (custard) that the English always make commercial powders (Bird’s is the brand) and it is frankly good, but I prefer thick cream. And here you have a dish that anticipates future parties due to its Christmas appearance: