Although apples can be bought all year, most varieties are only in season from October until January (like Elstar, Jonagold, Gala, ..), so they are actually mostly an Autumn fruit and will have better & stronger flavours if you buy them now. I’m lucky enough to live close to The Apple Farm in Cahir, County Tipperary, which means I have access to fresh apples (and loads of other products) but if you don’t live nearby I would always recommend you go to a market to get really fresh fruit and vegetables.
When it comes to crumble, I think apple crumble has to be to most popular one, both at home and in restaurants they seem to be an all-time favourite. I’ve made a rhubarb crumble before but this time I decided to go for that all time classic and give it a bit of a twist by turning it into crumble bars, with crumble both at the top and bottom! I’ve tried this recipe both with real butter and flour, as well as gluten-free flour and dairy-free butter to make sure both tasted as good. When going for the free-from alternative, I would recommend adding an extra tablespoon of butter and sugar to give the crumble more flavour.
Keep in mind though that apples, unless they’re organic, will probably have been sprayed with synthetic insecticides. If you want to wash them you should do it in a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water, as just water won’t rinse of the bad stuff. You can also peel them of course but some of the chemicals will have gone into the fruit itself and by removing it you’ll also miss out on some of the fiber and vitamins in the skin. All those problems can be avoided by buying organic ones of course.
Makes: +- 12 bars (5x5cm)
- 400g plain flour (can be gluten-free)
- 300g butter (can be dairy free sunflower butter)
- 125g white sugar
- 125g brown sugar
- 4 green organic cooking apples
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Note: when going for the gluten-free alternative, add an extra tablespoon of sugar and butter
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Making crumble bars is very easy, and quite fun to do as well! First start by putting flour and sugar in a bowl, give them a good stir and then add the butter in chunks. Use your hands or a stand mixer to create crumbs. Put half of them in a baking tin lined with parchment paper. Push down the mixture a bit and put in the oven at 200°C for about 10 minutes.
Take your baking tin back out and get those apples ready. Slice them up (or peel them first, see my note in the intro) in thin slices and line them up on top of your crumble. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and add the rest of the crumble.
Pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on how thick your layers of crumble are. Add some powdered sugar on top as a finishing touch or serve with some custard. (Note: they are best served warm!)