Apple Crumble

Adapted from Tender, Volume II: A Cook’s Guide to the Fruit Garden by Nigel Slater

If you have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, you can bake this crumble right in the pan you use to cook the apples. This recipe uses a combination of flours; feel free to use only all-purpose flour or a gluten-free baking mix instead.

For the filling:

4 medium (about 2 pounds) apples

Juice of ½ lemon

⅓ cup (2½ ounces) sugar

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon

For the topping:

7 tablespoons (3½ ounces) cold unsalted butter

¾ cup (3½ ounces) all-purpose flour

½ cup (2¼ ounces) buckwheat flour

3½ tablespoons (1½ ounces) sugar

Pinch salt

1 tablespoon apple cider or water

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

Peel and core the apples, cut them into rough 1-inch chunks, and toss them with the lemon juice, sugar, and salt.

Warm a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter, and when it stops foaming, dump in the apples and their juices. Nudge the apples around so that they lie in a single layer, and then leave them alone for a while. The juices will thicken to a syrup that coats the fruit, and the fruit should get golden in patches. Stir occasionally, cooking until the apples have a little color, 15–20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the bourbon.

If your skillet is not oven safe, spoon the apples into a baking dish (a 9-inch square, or 7- by 11-inch), making sure to get all of the juices from the skillet into the dish.

While the apples are cooking, make the topping. Put the 7 tablespoons of butter and flours in a medium bowl, and rub them together with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Drizzle in a tablespoon of cider or water, and shake the bowl back and forth until some of the mixture sticks together in gravel-sized lumps. Distribute the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the topping is pale golden and the apples are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings