I’m loving this cookbook. It’s a collection of recipes from members of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association. The photos are beautiful and the recipes are both interesting and approachable. Each recipe includes a little blurb about the recipe and how it came to be. My favorite part is the one sentence description of each contributor. Stuff like “Golf-mad grandmother of 12” or “Volunteer and busy mum of three”. My personal favorite is “Hill-walking granny and expert patchworker”. The recipe I used today was from Margaret O’Reilly of County Cork, “Prize-winning maker of Carrickmacross lace”.
Now that it’s October and the weather seems to have turned, it really feels like Fall. Maybe that’s why I bought a huge bag of apples the other day. Apples. Just what you need when you want to make a simple, comforting, fall dessert. I needed to make something easy, preferably something you could throw together while holding a baby. Rolling out pie dough was out. An apple crumble was in order.
I chose the one in this book because it was different from any apple crumble recipe I’ve made before. The apple crumble recipes I’ve tried in the past all call for a streusel topping made with flour, sugar, warm spices and cold butter that you sprinkle on top of apples that have been tossed with sugar and lemon juice, sort of like a crustless streusel-topped pie. This was totally different. Toasted breadcrumbs, ground almonds, lemon zest, brown sugar and golden syrup with no warm spices, or any spices, to be found. Plus, the topping was cooked on the stovetop prior to baking and everything was layered in the pan - apples, topping, apples, topping - lasagna style. The recipe also called for blackberries, which I didn’t have. Still, the result was delicious. Simple. Clean. Extra “appley” without those spices for vying with the fruit for attention. The lemon zest complemented the sweetness of the apples without taking over. It also felt sweet and indulgent without being heavy. No guilt in eating this on top of yogurt or oats for breakfast.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t measure, again. So the amounts below are just estimates. I’m just not big on measuring unless I absolutely have to. But I’ve outlined the ingredients and basic process below.
Recipe adapted from Irish Country Cooking
2-3 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Brown sugar
2 oz Golden Syrup
Zest and juice of one lemon
pinch of salt
2oz Ground almonds
2 oz Sliced almonds
4 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray a pie pan or other baking dish with cooking spray or coat with butter.
Melt butter in a large skillet and toast breadcrumbs for about 5 minutes, until they are light brown and smell toasted.
Place golden syrup, lemon juice and zest, salt and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over low heat.
Once breadcrumbs are toasted, add them to sugar mixture, then add ground almonds and sliced almonds and stir.
Layer 2 apples in the pan and top with one half of the topping mixture.
Layer the remaining apples on top and top with the remaining sugar-breadcrumb mixture.
Place in oven. After 20 minutes, check the crumble and place foil loosely over the top if it is browning too fast (this is important, I almost didn’t check mine in time and it was very brown by the time I covered it).
Cook for another 20-25 minutes or until apples are soft and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or custard.