I am not a baker. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I can cook. I can follow a recipe, sometimes go a bit off-piste, and I’m definitely OK with one-pot stews and soups and casseroles. But, baking. As in cakes that go in the oven – I prefer to leave these to these experts, as they always just seem so complicated and so full of ingredients, which, in their raw state, leave me a bit puzzled. Too many kinds of flour and sugar and too many ways to mix mixtures. Especially when you are trying to buy in either an Italian or a Croatian supermarket and re reliant on translation apps for the ingredients.
But that was until we were given this as a present…
…a book, full of recipes, all of which are done in one tin. One roasting tin. Utterly genius! A fair few have been tried and tested but I’ve tended to avoid the back section – the cakes and desserts. These pages in any recipe book I own, rarely have splogdes of cooking evidence on them as I don’t venture near the back of the books. But I decided to be brave and tackle what looked looked like a fairly easy recipe – an apple crumble. With all ingredients sourced – and not easy, I can tell you, when buying in a Croatian or an Italian supermarket – I set about Operation Crumble.
Pre-heat oven to 180 (fan) / 200 / gas mark 6
Ingredients for the cake:
3 apples core and sliced
Juice of half a lemon
225g softened, unsalted butter
225g soft, light brown sugar
4 free range eggs
225g self-raising flour
half teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground all-spice
1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon (or, if you’re like me, a very heaped tsp)
Ingredients for the crumble topping:
25g demerara sugar (soft brown sugar can be used as an alternative)
25g unsalted softened butter
25g plain flour
I find it easier to get all of the ingredients measured out first, so that I’m not continually stopping and starting and so that I can keep the work top – which isn’t massive in size – as clutter free as possible. The process is pretty simple and straightforward – I use an electric whisk too, to mix everything, as even with softened butter, it is a bit tedious doing it all by hand. So, whisk the butter and sugar until smooth and then whisk in the eggs one by one. Gradually stir in the flour, spices and baking powder until all combined.
Line the tin with greaseproof baking paper and spoon in the mixture. I leave coring and slicing the apples until this point so that they don’t start to turn to brown and overlap them on top of the mixture, adding the dash of lemon juice to again prevent browning.
Now beat the demerara (or soft light brown) sugar and butter together, then stir in the flour and oats and work together with your fingertips into a rough crumble. Scatter over the apples.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave it to cool on a wire rack and the serve as you prefer – with a cup of tea, a dollop of cream or creme fraiche, or as we did because we had it in the freezer, a nice big spoonful of Bailey’s ice-cream.