Our next door neighbours have a great old apple tree in their garden. It leans right over our driveway and makes a fab arched entrance into our garden (though you have to remember to duck your head!)
This year has been a particularly good one for the apples and there's been a tonne of gorgeous, glossy red globes ripening on the tree this past week or two.
Unfortunately, it's also been really windy this week, so many of the apples have fallen. When we get home from work each night and open our gates, there's often a flood of apples that roll down the drive and onto the road.
If we manage to pick them up before they get splatted all over the road by passing cars, they either get put onto the wall at the side of the drive...
Or chucked under the hedges in the parking area for the blackbirds to have a peck at.
Today, however, I picked a few apples off the tree before they got blown down, with the intent of making some delicious culinary experience out of them. I've always fancied making jam, but I have no preserving pan or empty jam jars so that was a 'no no'; apple sauce sounded really boring; and I couldn't be bothered to start making and rolling out pastry for a pie...
So I settled on this scrummy, yummy Apple and Pear Crumble. It doesn't look fantastic in the photo, but it was DELICIOUS! Lots of different flavours and textures.
EDIT: With custard, it looks so much tastier!
I'd had a look through a good few of my cookery books for apple recipes but, as usual, I didn't have a lot of the ingredients needed. So finally I decided on an amalgamation of Bramley Apple & Pear Crumble (Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Cooking by Phil Vickery) and Spiced Apple Crumble (Complete Comfort Food, Contributing Editor Bridget Jones).
Here's my interpretation of the two recipes, using mainly store cupboard ingredients as a substitute for the fresh ones in the originals. Serves 4-6.
'not' butter, for greasing
450g/1lb cooking apples
1 tin of halved pears in juice, drained
1tsp extract of oranges
1tsp vanilla extract
50g/2oz soft brown sugar
For the topping:
175g/6oz plain flour ( I used Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat Free plain white flour blend)
75g/3oz 'not' butter
75g/3oz caster sugar
25g/1oz chopped hazlenuts
Preheat oven to 200c/gas mark 4 (or 190c for fan oven).
Generously butter a 1.2 litre/2 pint baking dish.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them quite thinly into the prepared baking dish.
Slice the tinned pears and place them on top of the sliced apples. Level the surface.
Sprinkle the vanilla extract, extract of oranges, and the brown sugar over the top of the pears. Set aside.
Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the 'not' butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the caster sugar and chopped hazelnuts.
Spoon the crumble mixture over the top of the fruit. Press the topping around the edges to seal in the juices, but leave the rest 'crumbly'.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and the fruit is cooked (the pears will be quite soft but will still hold their shape, and the apples shouldn't be mushy either, they should still have a bit of bite to them).
Serve hot with custard or vanilla ice cream.
I'm sure the original recipes taste fantastic, but I think my substitution of certain ingredients worked really well too, and that's half the fun of cooking isn't it?