I should think you're thinking something along the lines of, 'er. What is this?'. I completely understand why. This is, to use its full name, 'A Piece Of Apple Streusal That Refused Point Blank To Photograph Attractively Until Indy Gave Up And Covered It With Ice Cream And Then Ate It, In A Very Bad Mood'.
My theory was that if you can't see it for ice cream, you can imagine that underneath it's dazzlingly well presented. Actually, it didn't look that bad in real life. It just didn't want to photo.
Oh yeah, and the pastry? That didn't want to cook without shrinking (not the pastry's fault; I just have a shrinking-jinx). The apples didn't want to core in a straight line, resulting in pips shooting all over the kitchen. The kitchen-aid mixer was on strike, full stop (the handle actually broke. Wassgoingon). In fairness, I was trying to make the tea at the same time, while my sister and my dad had a blazing argument in the background and I internally reminded myself that I'm leaving in October. Just October. It's not so long. And breathe out.
The ironic thing was, the reason I was making this Stubborn Apple Whatsit (its shortened name) was in honour of An Apple A Day, in which the challenge was to make something using food that reduced the risk of a stroke. Considering I was on the verge of a heart attack the entire time I was baking, this was probably just as well.
And the thing was, my nervous breakdown was completely worth it (and, I have to make clear, not anything to do with this recipe, which was pretty simple - I think the heavens were just against me. I must have offended someone, cause karma was more or less laughing in my face). Because this is gorgeous. I mean, gorgeous with a capital GUH (the noise I made when I first tried it). I have a complete soft spot for cooked apple, and this is like apple crumble and apple pie rolled into one... I'm trying to stop myself saying 'glorious apple extravaganza', but I think you get the message.
And, you know, HEALTHY. Apples. Repel doctors, and help prevent strokes, and all sorts. If you're a doctor you may not be too fond of them, but they seem pretty popular with everyone else (in my mind, apples are to doctors what garlic is to vampires, but this isn't necessarily factually accurate).
The above picture is the point where I gave up on food photography and just decided to take pictures of melting icecream. Hooray.
Recipe by Janice Hewerdine and featured in Good Food magazine, October 07
Prep 30 mins + chilling
Cook 45 mins
462 kcals per serving
Can be frozen.
For the pastry:
200g (8oz) plain flour
140g (5oz) butter, cut into cubes
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
For the apples:
6 medium dessert apples, peeled, cored & cut into thick slices
zest & juice of 1 lemon
25g (1oz) sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
For the streusal topping:
85g (3oz) softened butter
85g (3oz) plain flour
85g (3oz) soft brown sugar
zest 1 lemon
1. Rub the flour & butter in a bowl together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then add most of the egg to bring the pastry together. It's helpful if your mixer works, but you know, whatever. If it seems too dry, add more of the egg. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30mins (or you could stick it in the freezer for a few minutes, which I am a firm believer in).
2. Toss the apples with the lemon juice & set aside.
3. For the topping, cut the butter into pieces and rub lightly into the flour, sugar & lemon zest to make a lumpy-looking crumble.
4. Heat oven to 200C. Dust the work surface with flour & roll pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Line a 20x30cm tin with pastry and trim the sides, crimping the edges if you don't want to be my friend anymore. Tip in the apples, then sprinkle with lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg. Scatter the streusal topping over the fruit.
5. Bake for 20 mins, then reduce oven to 180C and bake for about 25 mins more until the topping and pastry are golden. Serve warm with ice-cream (in case you didn't guess) or creme fraiche.
I've also been tagged for a meme by Maria, but it looks like I'm not going to have time until my next post - it'll feature then, I promise!