WWe are having a top year for apples. When driving outside of London I find myself in local farm shops looking for boxes of beautifully named ribston pippins, lord lambournes or blenheim oranges. Today’s crumble/cake hybrid is beautiful with the sweet, tart notes of the fruit next to a nutty sponge spiced with savory burnt butter and the smooth aromas of cinnamon and cardamom.
Apple crumble pie with brown butter
Preparation 45 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
250 g butter
400 g cooking applespeeled, cored, quartered and cut into half moons
160g light brown soft sugar
2 large eggs
125 g spelled flour
60 g ground almonds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
For the topping
70 g white spelled flour
50g whole wheat flour
80 g granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
60 g blanched hazelnutscoarsely chopped
Place 130 g of the butter in a pan over medium heat. It will melt and begin to foam; scrape the milk solids from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and keep it on the heat for a few minutes, until the butter turns a nice yellow brown and smells nutty. Pour into a shallow bowl and refrigerate to set. It should be firm, but soft enough to get creamy with the sugar.
To make the crumb topping, cut the remaining 120 g butter into cubes and place in a large bowl. Working quickly and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour, sugar and salt to make coarse crumbs, then refrigerate while you make the cake.
Mix the sliced apples with 30 g of the light brown sugar. Weigh the remaining sugar, flour, almonds, baking powder and spices into another large bowl, whisk and set aside. Preheat oven to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas 4 and grease and line a 20-22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
Once the browned butter has set slightly, scrape it into a cake mixer and beat with the sugar for about five minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients, scrape the cake mixture into the parchment-lined baking pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Place the apples on top, arrange them in tight circles and sprinkle them over the crumb mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown, then remove from oven and let cool before slicing and serving with Greek yogurt or crème frache.
The simple flex
Make this cake dairy-free by using vegetable oil instead of the butter.