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Apple and blackcurrant crumble

Blackcurrants are such an underrated fruit. You can tell, because something like 97% of Britain’s crop of blackcurrants go into making Ribena. Only something truly neglected would end up with this saddest of fates. I can’t understand it, because for me blackcurrants have a truly unique and delicious appeal. They have a fabulous tartness that is somehow also bursting with a musky, grassy perfume, moreishly tangy and addictive. They have beautiful inky purple juice that pairs delightfully with the blank canvas of cream, soft cheese, or sandy biscuit. A tad too prominent to use on their own, blackcurrants work wonderfully combined with meltingly tender chunks of apple in this excellent crumble recipe. The result is soft, buttery and sweet, with little bursts of sour purple from the molten berries. The crumble is beautifully buttery, chunky with thick oats and warm with spice. I like to sprinkle the top with hazelnuts, but you could use any nuts (or none).

Incidentally, this recipe works very well with gluten-free flour, should you be so inclined.

Instructions

  • First, prepare the filling. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1-inch chunks. Put in a saucepan with a tiny drop of water and the sugar, then cook over a medium heat until some of the apples have collapsed, and everything has turned juicy. Pour into a baking or pie dish, then mix in the blackcurrants and the ginger.

  • For the crumble, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, oats and cinnamon. Add 1-2 tbsp cold water and stir to make the mixture ‘pebbly’. Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit, then sprinkle with the hazelnuts if using. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes, or until the crumble is crunchy and golden and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe and photographs by Elly McCausland

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