One of my most treasured childhood memories is going blackberry picking with my siblings down the lane at my grandparents’ house in Cornwall. We would all stride down the road in our wellies, armed with plastic in containers in all shapes and sizes, and see who could pick the most – and biggest - berries. And who could secretly eat some without the tell-tale black-purple marks around the mouth and all over the fingers. My brother always got the most distant fruit thanks to his height, but my younger sister and I always had the most ingenious ways of getting right into the bushes without getting spiked by the brambles.
Our well-deserved reward after a hard afternoon’s picking was to sit down in the evening and tuck into a sweet, tart, hot, ice-cream-drenched blackberry and apple crumble, courtesy of our mum.
I was lucky enough to find a treasure trove of huge blackberries at the end of our North London garden this summer, and dutifully went out every couple of days with my plastic containers, dodging the massive spider webs to collect the latest crop. I stockpiled the ones I couldn’t eat at the time in the freezer, and now we are reaping the rewards.
This crumble makes a fantastic stand-by pudding when time is not on your side.
Recipe for Blackberry and apple oaty crumble
1 Bramley apple, peeled and sliced
50g soft brown sugar
3 knobs of butter
100g wholemeal plain flour
50g golden caster sugar
50g demerera sugar
100g butter, chilled
Mix the blackberries, apple pieces and brown sugar together well, then transfer into a 7-9 inch pie dish. Add the knobs of butter just under the top level of fruit and make sure the top of the mixture is level for the crumble.
To make the crumble, grind the oats until quite fine, but still with a bit of texture, then add them and the sieved flour into a large bowl. Then chop the butter into the mixture into inch-size pieces. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs and then add both sugars. Rub the sugar in until it is completely blended.
Pour the crumble onto the fruit mixture and then cook at 200 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Serve with ice cream, cream, custard or all three. Delicious comfort food!
Oats instead of flour
The standard crumble recipe uses 200g flour and no oats, but the oats add protein and reduce the wheat. You can use all oats if you like, or all flour.
© Katheryn Rice 2007