What could be more English than Apple Crumble? It’s one of my favourite puddings and certainly the one I cook more often than anything else. It’s a kind of default pudding on a Sunday evening when family come for supper; not because it’s easy, but because I love it so. I like my apples slightly sharp; I don’t like too deep a topping but a scattering of buttery crumble mix, caramelised by the sugar and the finished topping having some soft and gooey bits and some crisp and crunchy bits. I like it served with cream; my son likes custard; my dad used to like ice cream and custard together!
So, following my recent enthusiasm for making ice cream, I wondered how I could incorporate my love for apple crumble with my love for ice cream. It seemed the best thing to do was to make the various components of the dish separately and then bring them together at the last minute. So I made a vanilla ice cream, then some apple puree (although normally in a crumble I’d leave the apples in chunks) and finally I baked the crumble topping on a tray till it was nice and brown with some soft chunks and some smaller crispy chunks. Then I mixed them together, popped it all in the freezer and later, after supper, I tasted it. And wow, here was my favourite apple crumble wrapped in a rich, iced vanilla cream; with odd mouthfuls of iced apple puree and some of caramelised crumble topping. The taste was both wonderfully familiar and excitingly different. I thought it worked pretty well … and if you try it, I hope you like it too!
Apple Crumble Ice Cream
First make the apple puree.
Peel, core and dice 500g apples. I like to use sweet dessert apples rather than cooking apples so I need less sugar. Today I used Braeburn as the best available but I prefer to use English Cox apples for cooking when in season. Put them in a saucepan with about 2 tablespoons sugar and a large knob (15g) butter. The amount of sugar you need will depend on the sweetness of your apples. Cook gently till the apples are tender then use a hand blender to puree and set aside.
Mix together 150g plain flour with 100g butter until you have a breadcrumb-like mix. Then add 75g sugar. Just fork this in, don’t use a food processor for this part. I made a last-minute adjustment by substituting light soft brown sugar for caster to achieve a more caramel flavour. Spread the crumble topping mixture on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Then put in 180C oven for about half an hour, or until it’s nicely browned. You’ll need to gently toss the mixture a couple of times during the cooking so the crumble topping gets evenly browned. Set aside to cool.
Now make your vanilla ice cream with 300ml milk, 6 egg yolks, 120g sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste. Follow instructions in my Vanilla Ice Cream with Blueberry Ripple recipe. Churn until thickened but still soft enough for you to be able to easily fold in the apple and crumble mixtures.
Transfer the ice cream to a bowl, tip in the apple puree, and with a fork, lightly swirl it into the vanilla ice cream in ripple fashion. Now do the same thing with the crumble topping (* I added all I’d made but it was a bit much; I’ll add less next time – maybe only half and sprinkle the rest over when serving; add yours slowly and see what you think). Transfer to a freezer container and finish freezing.
If you make this many hours in advance, or the day before, bring it out of the freezer a few minutes before you want to serve/eat it so it softens a little. Then spoon into serving dishes.
It tasted fabulously indulgent: all those glorious familiar flavours of apple, buttery and caramlised crumble mix but icy cold and something special. What a great way to enjoy a favourite English pudding, usually served hot in winter, on a summer’s day.