Spiced Apple and Pecan Crumble with Mascarpone Vanilla Cream
‘September blowe soft, till fruit be in the loft’ wrote Thomas Tusser, an East Anglian farmer who lived in the 16th century.
Too much wind and the fallen apples would be bruised and unsuitable for storing in the loft to last throughout the winter months. Now that we don’t have apple lofts but deep freezers instead, the bruises can be cut out and the apples beautifully preserved as apple sauce. I always make a big vat of it and freeze the sauce in small bags for the winter months. This recipe is also great for windfalls and I love the combination of fluffy Bramleys and the wonderful flavour of Cox’s. You could serve it with ice cream or pouring cream, but I think this mascarpone vanilla cream is extra special.
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This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Oct 2002). Serves 6-8
Begin by preparing the apples.
I always find the best way to do this is to cut them first into quarters and slice out the cores. You can peel the apples, but I like to leave the peel on for extra flavour. Either way, now cut them into thickish slices and toss them in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and raisins, then place them in the baking dish.
Next make the crumble, which couldn’t be simpler, as it is all made in a processor. All you do is place the butter, sifted flour, cinnamon and sugar in the processor and give it a whiz until it resembles crumbs. Next add the pecans and process again, not too fast, until they are fairly finely chopped but there are still a few chunky bits. If you don’t have a processor, in a large bowl, rub the butter into the sifted flour until it resembles crumbs, then stir in the cinnamon, sugar and pecans, which should be fairly finely chopped, by hand. Now, simply sprinkle the crumble mixture all over the apples, spreading it right up to the edges of the dish and, using the flat of your hands, press it down quite firmly all over: the more tightly it is packed together, the crisper it will be.
Now bake the crumble on the centre shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes, by which time the apples will be soft and the topping golden brown and crisp. Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the mascarpone vanilla cream until smooth, and chill until needed. Leave the crumble to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving, then serve it warm with the mascarpone cream.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C)
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You will also need a baking dish about 8 x 11 in (20 x 28 cm) and 2 in (5 cm) deep.