How to win over Irish heart ???? Well, I am a miserable agony aunt so will just say - I have no clue! However, (hint) this Vanilla Brown Butter Apple Crumble will bring you one step closer!
Nutty brown butter mixed with vanilla and ground pecans brings a great twist to this simple apple crumble. Apples are hard but mellow in the same time, lightly spiced. Serve this crumble warm (or at room temperature) with mandatory dollop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream.
What apples to use? It's down to your preference! We like to use Russet, Granny Smith or Bramley apples in our crumble. If you decide to go with Bramley apples - these usually need additional 1-2 Tbsps of sugar (season to taste!).
Cut apples according to your preference. We like to cut apples into 1/4 or 1/8 (chunks) but finely cut are ok too! Fry apples on salted butter using small amount of sugar, spices (cinnamon and cardamom), cornflour and lemon juice. Keep in mind - this is your crumble! If you fry apples (chunks or 1/4) for 3 minutes (like in the recipe) - you will get semi-hard but mellow apples. If you like your apples softer, mellow - after 3 minutes add 1-2 Tbsps water, cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Browning butter in this recipe will take 17-18 minutes, cooking on medium heat. Use pot with heavy bottom (light colour, to see how the butter colour is changing). Butter will become noisy at first (no need to stir), then it will become silent. This is the sign that milk solids have started cooking. From this point - watch not to burn the butter (don't stir excessively either), it will take another 3-4 minutes to get the desired golden/brown colour. Milk solids will cook and form golden/brown speckles at the bottom of the pot. This is your rich, nutty flavour. In this bake, there is no need to strain brown butter - scrape golden speckles, mix with the rest of the golden liquid, set aside to cool and use it all.
For the best result - place assembled crumble in the fridge (20min) or freezer (15min) just before baking.
Apple Crumble Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Tin: 18cm pie dish
Time: 20 min prep + 35-40 min baking
- 6 apples (1kg), peeled and cored, cut in 1/4 or 1/8 (chunks)
- 20g salted butter
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
- 2 tsps cornflour
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Vanilla Brown Butter Streusel:
- 230g unsalted butter
- 200g all-purpose flour, sifted
- 180g light brown sugar
- 100g ground pecans or walnuts (with skins)
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Prepare apples: On a pan melt salted butter, add apples and fry on medium heat for 1 minute. Add sugar, cinnamon, cardamom (if using), cornflour and lemon juice. Stir energetically and fry for another 3 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside. Apples, when baked, will be semi-hard and mellow. If you like softer apples in your crumble - continue cooking apples for another 5-7min (add 1-2 Tbsp water and cover with a lid cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally).
2. Brown butter: In a pot with heavy bottom melt and brown butter. It will take about 17-18 minutes to complete this step (cooking on medium heat). Butter will be ‘noisy’ at first and then will become silent. Continue cooking for few more minutes (watch not to burn but don’t stir excessively). When done, take off the heat and stir to incorporate little brown/golden speckles (that’s part of the flavour). Set aside to cool.
3. Topping: Mix sifted flour with sugar, ground pecans, coarse salt. Add brown butter, vanilla extract (or paste) and combine to form loose crumble.
4. Combine: Brush pie dish with butter (generously!). Transfer apples, cover with crumble and refrigerate for 20min (or 15min in the freezer). In a meantime, preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced).
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream.
Jazz it up:
1. Flavouring apples - use cherry or your favourite syrup or liquor (1-2 Tbsps, Limoncello, Orange) when frying apples. If you are going for this option - swap cinnamon for 1/2 tsp of nutmeg (keeping 1/2 tsp of cardamom).
2. Add whole pecans to streusel (50-80g) for that extra crunch.
3. Serve with Salted Caramel from this recipe.