Stewed Apples & Apple Crumble

Its that happy time of year when greedy-in-law brings me a bag of apples from her own apple tree, a combination of ‘cookers’ and ‘eaters’, completely organic. When I say completely organic, I mean complete with worm holes, the odd worm, spots and rotten patches. Misshapen, bruised in places and all shapes and sizes I think, when the work of cleaning, peeling, coring and digging out the bad bits is done, that these are some of the best apples in the world. I estimate I lost maybe half to two thirds of a kilo in in my inexpert preparation but given they were free, and I was still left with almost 2 kilos of apple when it was all cooked down, I don’t mind at all.And aside from the apple crumble I make (See below), I portion the apple up and I freeze it – ready for applesauce, apple pie, apple cake, apple anything. I’ve given proportions for just 1 kilo of apples, because I think that is all most people are realistically going to have. Easy to double or half.



Firstly, wash the apples. Peel and core, and slice into quarters for small to medium, or eighths for the big ones. If they have come off someone’s tree, you will need to dig out holes and nasty bits and check for worms, if they have come from Waitrose, not so much. If you are as slow as I am (and I am slow) put the quarters into a bowl of water into which you have cut and squeezed a couple of big chunks of fresh lemon. If you don’t do that, there is a chance they will go brown. When you’re ready, fish the apples pieces out of the water and put them in a large saucepan, with some sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water. I don’t like my apples sweet, and I don’t add sugar to fruit generally, I’d much rather sweeten if I need to at the point of eating. However, I’d put up to three teaspoons of sugar in these and stir them round . If you do have a sweet tooth, and you’re only planning to use them in sweet dishes and not feeding babies or anything, you can put in up to 100g of sugar per kilo of apples. Myself, I think you’d be crazy. Shake the pan, and then cook over a medium heat until the apples have gone fuzzy at the edge and you can put a fork right the way through them. You don’t really want them any softer than that in my view. And that’s that.


So to make crumble when you already have stewed apples is incredibly easy. I remember making it in home ec when I was about 11. To my apples I added about 4 tablespoons of mixed dried fruit, and to the crumble mix I added a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon because I was looking for a bit of a streusel taste. I served mine with custard. I wish I was the sort of person to NOT use Birds’ custard, and make my own with a vanilla pod and some egg yolks, but.. I’m not. And Birds is really a’ight for a family teatime. To serve three or four maximum. Crumble recipe in imperial measures I’m afraid. Its older than metricity itself!

  • 500g stewed apples
  • 5 oz plain flour
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 3 oz butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to Gas 5. Simply, put the apples in a pie dish or small oven dish. In a large bowl, put the flour in and then start mixing the butter in with your fingers until you have a breadcrumby looking mixture and the fat is evenly distributed. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix similarly. Tip onto the apple mixture and , pressing down slightly as you go, heap it on so its relatively evenly covered, and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes until browned on top.


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