Blackcurrant & Apple Crumble Tart

banner

An obligatory pudding of English schooldays, apple and blackberry crumble was never one of my favourites and in my mind’s eye I can still see those huge metal tins with their cement-like topping superheated and overcooked fruit forcing through cracks like lava from a volcano. Combine crisp tart eating apples and blackcurrants on an almond-enriched sweet pastry with a crunchy topping and you have something very different.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from the kitchen of French master chef Joël Robuchon, very much a three-star incarnation. From a cook’s point of view this recipe also scores by eliminating blind baking - always a tedious business - and uses frozen blackcurrants, one of the few fruits not to suffer from this treatment Robuchon’s pâtissier, Philippe Gobet used Golden Delicious. I have never understood the French love for these over-sweet apples - which I find insipid - and I prefer to use Cox’s, but Granny Smiths would also work well.

Read more

Ingredients

For the Crumble Topping

  • 6tbsp flour
  • 6tbsp Muscovado sugar
  • 6tbsp finely ground blanched almonds
  • 3tbsp softened unsalted butter

For the Blackcurrant and Apple Filling

  • 115g/4oz blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 large tart apples, preferably Cox’s or Granny Smiths
  • 85g/3oz butter
  • 55g/2oz caster sugar
  • 2tbsp apple brandy (optional)

Utensils

  • large bowl
  • sieve
  • heavy sauté pan
  • small saucepan
  • spatula

Method

Mise en Place

First prepare the crumble topping: sift the flour into a bowl with the brown sugar and almonds and combine them using your fingers. Add the butter and continue to work for several minutes until thoroughly blended in and the mixture is very crumbly. Leave to rest for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas5.

Prepare the filling: if the blackcurrants are frozen, defrost in a sieve to allow any excess moisture to drain. Peel, core and dice the apples into 2.5cm/1in chunks.

Cooking

Over a medium heat sauté the apples in a heavy pan with the butter and sugar, tossing to coat and cooking until just tender (which will take between 10 and 15 minutes). They should be golden brown.

If using apple brandy, warm it in a small pan. Ignite it and pour over the apples, stirring in. The mixture should not be too wet If it is, drain briefly in a fine sieve.

Take the pastry shell from the freezer, put it on a baking tray and spoon in the apples, pressing down to make them level. Sprinkle the blackcurrants over and cover evenly with the crumble topping. Use a spatula to smooth the surface flat Bake for 25 minutes and check that the topping is golden brown. If it is not, check every 5 minutes until done.

Serving

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.