Tips for making the best-ever apple crumble
Which apples are best?
This depends on your palate. If you’re a bit of a tart (apple fan, that is), then granny smiths are the way to go. As well as giving your crumble a beautiful zing, they tend to hold up better through the baking process rather than disintegrating into mush. For apples that still have that tart edge, but with a little sweetness, jazz apples are sure to, well, jazz up your dessert. Pink ladies are also a solid option. They’re crisp and sweet but not sickly. Something more mellow? Try golden delicious. And you know what they say – variety is the spice of life – so you could even try combining a few different apples to find your signature flavour.
Can you use old apples?
If you’ve got a few old apples in the fruit bowl, making apple crumble is an easy way to help them disappear. But be mindful that older apples can become mushy when baked and you could end up with more of an apple sauce than a chunky filling. The trick? Make sure you add a couple of fresh apples into the mix to give your filling a firmer consistency.
Do I have to peel the apples?
It’s no secret that an apple’s peel is where all the good bits are, but this is totally down to personal preference. For a more rustic result, or if you’re super pressed for time, unpeeled apples will give your crumble extra texture, flavour and, if you use a red variety, a pop of colour. Tip: if you want to be really sneaky, peel the apples then add the peel to a stick blender with some of the apple flesh and puree it. That way you get the best of both worlds – extra taste and nutrition, without the risk of crunchy bits.
Slice or dice?
Want to know what’s more important than how you slice apples for crumble? The size. Keeping your slices or dices consistent is key to ensuring even cooking, rather than a mix of crunchy and mushy apple pieces.
To press or not to press, that’s the question
Last, but not least, the crumble. Do you sprinkle it gently on top or pack it in? If you like your topping crispy, pressing it down lightly is the way to go. This also helps to trap the air in the filling, which gives more caramelised, gooey apple. If you like your crumble more granola-like, with crunchy buttery bits, then go the gentle sprinkle.
Can I make it ahead?
Apple crumble is one of those great dishes that can easily be prepared the day before and baked just before you’re ready to eat it.
Can I make it gluten free?
You sure can, just swap the plain flour for brown rice flour.