So today Sunday 21st of October 2012 was Apple Day. The day itself was a grey, damp and rheumy one but that didn’t matter, today was the apples big day. To celebrate Apple Day our allotment kids club, The Young Gardeners Club had a special little meet up in the community hut. Apple Day was started in Covent Garden on 21st Oct. 1990 to demonstrate the significance of the apple to British culture, landscape and wildlife. It is now celebrated countrywide and is part of the festive calendar. The Young Gardeners Club celebrated by making apple juice using a borrowed traditional apple press and bevy of surplus apples kindly donated by plot holders. So you can imagine there was a wide array of varieties, flavour, textures, shapes and sizes of apples on offer. With many of the fruit trees potentially being 75 years old or more there where plenty of heritage and unusual apple varieties to show. A great opportunity to teach the kids about the vast varieties and diversity of British apples. And more importantly that the uniform flavourless apples found in the supermarkets are not necessarily the norm. They had a good turn out, I didn’t realise there was so many children at our plots. The apple juice flowed and someone even made an apple cake! A successful first Apple day for the Young Gardeners Club.
Our own apple harvest hasn’t been too shabby either. harvesting our first crop from our Minarette Hertfordshire Russet tree. despite losing a few to bug attack and squirrel nibbling we had a modest crop of around 25 apples. Russets have to be my favourite apple so I was interested to see how this newer cultivar of this old apple variety fared. Sweeter and stronger in flavour the Herefordshire Russets tastes beautiful. Somehow managing to bring out the taste of both the Cox and Conference Pear from which the Russet is crossed with without the heavy sometimes bitter taste of a regular Russet. To continue the Apple Day celebrations with our little bounty of apples, a mixture of our own Russets and kind donations from allotment neighbours on a damp dank October afternoon a crumble was definitely called for!
Crumbles until recently have been my pudding Achilles heel. With my other half’s mother being the queen of the crumble (they are amazing) this simple homely pud has alluded me. Lumpy, flour spitty or sinking topping phwarted my crumble attempts. But a wonderful Nigel Slater recipe from Tender Volume II is absolutely wonder, helping me finally master the humble crumble. The apples I used for this recipe was a mix of Bramley, Herefordshire Russets and James Grieves which a gorgeous sweet and almost pearlike crumble filling with a delightfully chewing buttering sauce. Nigel you’re a pudding genius!
Nigel Slater’s fabulous Deeply Appley Crumble.
For the filling:
Apples (cooking, desert or a mix of the two.) 850g
Half a lemon.
Golden Caster Sugar 75g
For the crumble
Plain Flour 150g
Muscavado sugar 45g
A tablespoon of oats (I added this to the recipe, walnuts or pecans would be nice also)
- Peel and core the apples, cutting into plump chunks around 2cm thick. Adding to a bowl tossing with the caster sugar and lemon juice.
- Melt the butter. When it begins sizzle pour in the apple chunks letting the apples colour a lightly. let the sugar caramelized here and there with a faint toffee like smell.
- pour apples into your baking dish juice and all.
- preheat oven to 180c/Gas 4.
- Assemble your crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips. When the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs stir in the sugar and oats.
- Tip the crumble mixture on top of the apples evenly.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly golden.
Served up with some custard it certainly hits the spot.
So how about them apples? Despite the damp squib of summer surely we’ve got to say 2012 has been a good apple year?