One of my all time favourite comfort foods as the weather turns cooler, is Apple Crumble.
The speed and ease at which it can be assembled, the craving for a good biscuity topping, and the fact that it feels healthier than other desserts because it is essentially apple (despite the fact that I eat it with a lot of cream) makes it something I cook often.
Start with good cooking apples, in Australia that usually means Granny Smiths. Cooking apples, while quite astringent and crunchy when raw, actually sweeten and soften perfectly once cooked.
For two people, I would use 3-4 medium to large apples, peeled, chopped and cored. I find that cutting them in half, then each half into thirds, makes it easy to run a knife down the centre to remove the sliver of core. It also makes the slices big enough to hold their shape once cooked without taking forever to soften.
For the rhubarb, take about four stems and cut into short lengths.
Place in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add water to about a 1cm depth at the bottom, and leave to simmer until the fruit begins to fall apart.
At this stage, reduce the heat, add a tablespoon of butter for increased richness (can be omitted) a good sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a few tablespoons of sugar (this is also optional as there will be sugar in the crumble - however rhubarb can need a bit of sugar to bring out the sweetness, so taste and decide if appropriate). Take off the heat, give it a good stir to blend the flavours and leave to sit while you put together the crumble.
I'm of the opinion that you can never have enough crumble, especially as I like to "sample" as I go. I also have a preference for crumble with rolled oats, that way it cooks almost like a giant Anzac biscuit on the top and doesn't just form a floury mush.
For two, mix together ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup plain flour, ½ cup brown sugar (or raw if unavailable) and ¼ cup desiccated coconut.
To this, add about 60g melted butter and mix through until well combined.
This mix is very flexible with the quantities, just try and keep to the ratio above.
Scoop the cooked fruit into a shallow oven proof dish, and sprinkle over the crumble mix, and a little cinnamon if desired.
Bake in the oven at 180°c for at least 15 minutes, or as long as it takes to get the top nice and golden.
Serve hot with cream, ice cream or yoghurt.
Having discovered the wonderful local Hastings Valley Country Style Yoghurts
, I like to top mine with a generous dollop of the rich and creamy Honey flavour.
This yoghurt is so thick, and it leaves the most wonderful honey aftertaste, I don't really need much encouragement to find uses for it. If it wasn't for the fact that the apples are the only 'healthy' part of this dish, I would probably top the yoghurt with the crumble mix and eat the lot...