A logical follow on from sponge would be rubber, but instead we change the texture to crumble. It is one of those deeply philosophical problems - a bit like the chicken and the egg (for vegans the soya bean and the tofu). Which came first, the pie or the crumble? Did someone forget to put the water in the pastry for an apple pie, or did they spill water into the crumble? These questions trouble philosopher cooks in the still watches of the night. Serves 4-6.
8oz (225g) flour - plain wholemeal
4oz (100g) margarine
2oz (50g) muscovado or soft brown sugar
1lb (450g) baking apples
- Wash, core and chop the apples into chunks. Put in a pan with 4 tablespoons of water and a little lemon juice. Put on moderate heat and leave to stew for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. The apple should be just starting to soften, not becoming a pulp.
- Mix flour and margarine with the fingertips until it is like the texture of breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix.
- Put the cooked apples in a greased pie dish and sprinkle with a little more sugar. Cover with the crumble mixture.
- Bake in the oven at gas mark 5, 190°C, 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until brown on top.
- This recipe can be used to make any sort of fruit crumble. For example rhubarb - just substitute the apples with 1lb. of washed and chopped rhubarb for every 4 people and treat it in exactly the same way. Other varieties could include blackcurrent, blueberry, blackberry and apple, almost anything you like really.