6 bramley apples (peeled, cored and chopped into quarters)
150 g light muscovado sugar
400 g self-raising flour
250 g butter (salted, cut into cubes and left out of the fridge for a good half-hour)
150 g demerara sugar
1 star anise
1 tsp ground ginger powder
0.5 tsp mace
0.25 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground rose petals (optional)
0.5 tsp long pepper (white pepper is fine)
beans of 1 vanilla pod
200 ml mascarpone and 200ml crème fraîche mixed together (optional)
A crumble doesn't need any messing around. The key is using really fresh fruits, but every so often it makes an excellent change to add a little twist to your dish, in this case with spices to enhance the floral notes of the fruit. I like a good thick crumble and occasionally add a couple of handfuls of brambles (fresh or frozen) for extra fruitiness! Either way, I really hope you enjoy this one.
Grind or blitz all the spices, except the vanilla pod and mix together. Then split the vanilla pod, scrape out the beans and add them to the spice blend.
Take a deep ovenproof dish and pop the apples into it.
Mix 2 tsp of the spice blend into the light Muscovado, then sprinkle this spiced sugar mix over the apples and set aside.
Pop the flour into a large mixing bowl, followed by the cubed butter, the Demerara sugar and the remaining spice blend.
Top Tip: you could exchange the flour for 'gluten free' flour - a blend of rice flour, tapioca and potato starches is great. A ready-made gluten flour can be bought quite readily now from many health food shops and supermarkets. The crumble would then be fine for Coeliacs to tuck into.
Next, roll up your sleeves and using your (clean) hands work the ingredients in the bowl together, rubbing the floury, buttery mix between your fingers until you end up with a texture that resembles breadcrumbs. This should only take 2 or 3 minutes.
Pour the flour mix from the bowl over the fruit. Spread evenly, making sure to cover all the fruit, then lightly press down with the flat of your palms.
Pop the dish into your oven, set to 180°C, Gas mark 4. Allow to cook for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the crumble turns a light brown colour and the fruit starts to bubble up through crumble mix, around the sides of your dish.
Serve mounded high in bowls with the Mascarpone, crème fraîche mix, fresh cream or custard - whichever is your indulgence of choice! The main thing is to enjoy it!