Thursday, April 23, 2009
An apple a day keeps the doctor away...
As a child, apples were not a fruit I enjoyed eating. They were in fact the fruit I dreaded seeing most upon opening my small cobalt plastic lunch box; too cumbersome to eat and plain boring. In an effort to make the apple more appealing my mother would tell me that famous saying, as she knew of my aversion to doctors she thought it might work. It didn't.
As an adult I occasionally began to grasp for the apple nestled in amongst the food tray. I always wondered though why the apple was chosen as the advocate for health. I would think the strawberry more appropriate, they have more Vitamin C than apples and not only do they help to reduce plaque, supposedly they also help to whiten teeth. Strawberries are also well liked by children, more so than apples, so perhaps the strawberry should be the new doctor-deterring fruit.
Ramblings aside, apples have been welcomed back into my diet with arms wide open, with bouquets of flowers and towering masses of blimp-like foil balloons. I would attribute their return on account of my burgeoning interest in cooking. In raw form, I may reach for another fruit instead of the apple, but when choosing one to cook, the apple would always be picked first. There is just something so safe and comforting about apples, like being wrapped in a blanket by your grandmother whilst she makes a fire to toast marshmallows in her cosy living room. With each mouthful I am filled with warmth, and a familiar sense of fuzzy serenity.
If I were only allowed to make one apple dish, it would be chosen due to its flavour, ease and ability to comfort as well as it being something I would want seconds of. With those standards to meet, hands down it would have to be the humble but timeless Apple Crumble. This particular apple crumble was the first made-from-scratch dessert I attempted. And although I have flirted with a few other recipes I have kept returning to this one for its simplicity, ease and deliciousness. I'm sure almost everyone has an apple crumble dish they make time and time again.
I am not a fan of pairing something cold, such as ice cream, with something hot - it is jarring to my system. I prefer dollops of pure double cream, sometimes if I feel decadent enough, clotted cream.
prep time: 23mins. I am not gifted in the art of peeling, it takes me a while.
cooking time: 50mins.
total: 1hour & 13mins.
taste: 4.5/5. Sweet, cozy satisfaction. The sweet, crunchy and almost chewy crumble gives way to tender, tart apples spiced with cinnamon and hints of nutmeg and peppery cloves. The sweetness, tartness and spiciness meld warmly in your mouth and leave you wanting to forgo the plate and help yourself to the baking dish, cleanly licked spoon gripped tightly in your hand. This is by no means a complex or beautiful dish, it is just pure home-style crumble that satisfies.
I cut my apples according to the instructions this time around, and they didn't reach that oozy on-the-brink-of-liquefaction stage that creates a sticky, syrup like sauce which I love. This was probablt on account of them being a little too thick so they didn't get to that almost transparent stage. I would recommend slicing each half into 8 slices rather than 6 - 16 slices for a whole apple.
I also cut down the butter to around 200g.
I find that this dish lacks spicing as written so I always use 11/2tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp nutmeg, and 1/4-1/2tsp ground cloves which is still subtle but noticeable.
would I make it again: Yes - I think this is the sixth time I have made it, it shall be in my repertoire for years to come.