Trio of Apples

Apple and Bramble Crumble, Sticky Apple Sponge and Apple Sorbet


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

On The Menu: Seasonal Recipes for a Culinary Life

On The Menu

By James Mackenzie

Published 2011

  • About

From September, we have an abundance of apples in our kitchen, mainly due to the locals that drop them off if they’ve had a good crop (half the time it’s just a good excuse to nip to the pub and have a cheeky pint or two), and from the trees in our own garden. All three elements in this dish are great on their own, but using them together shows off the great British pudding for all it’s worth.


For the dried apple slices

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 100 ml sugar syrup
  • vitamin C powder (optional)


    To make the dried apple slices, thinly slice a Granny Smith apple, dip in sugar syrup with a little vitamin C powder (if using) to keep its colour, lay on greaseproof paper and dry out in the oven on the very lowest setting for about 12 hours until crisp.

    Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.

    To make the crumble topping, mix the flour and butter to a fine crumb and then add the sugar and oats. Lay out on a large tray and bake in the oven at 160°C/gas mark 3 for 8-10 minutes, remove from the oven.

    To make the crumble filling, peel and roughly chop the apples, simmer in a pan with the cinnamon, a little water and a lid on until just cooked. Remove from the heat, and then add the brambles and sugar to taste.

    Place the stewed apple mix in 4 little pots and top with the crumble. Finish in the oven at 160°C/gas mark 3 for 5-10 minutes.

    To make the sticky apple, reduce the apple juice to a thick syrup in a pan with the sugar, and then add the apple, and boil until it reaches syrup consistency again.

    For the sponge, beat the butter and sugar, and beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour, cinnamon and calvados. Divide the mixture into individual buttered moulds, then bake in the oven at 160°C/gas mark 3 for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the moulds. Remove from the oven and turn out of the moulds and keep warm.

    You can steam the sponges instead, if desired, for 25-30 minutes in individual buttered moulds.

    To make the sorbet, grate the apple and cover with the lemon juice. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes, remove and purée in a liquidiser with the sugar syrup and apple juice. Pour into an ice cream machine and churn.

    For the custard, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until well mixed. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds with a knife and add the pod and seeds to the pan. Bring it to the boil and pour the hot mixture over the eggs and sugar. Mix well and return back to the saucepan over a low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the back of the spoon. Do not over heat or the egg yolks will scramble. Remove from the heat pour into another saucepan, remove the vanilla pod and place some cling film directly onto the custard to prevent a skin forming. When needed, warm through the fresh custard mix - don’t boil as the custard will curdle. Blitz with a hand blender to froth the custard up.

    Warm through the apple and bramble mix, and spoon into 4 serving pots. Add a thin layer of the crumble. Finish it under a hot grill or in the oven, until the crumble topping is golden brown.

    To serve, turn out the sponge onto a plate, spoon the sticky apple over the top, and add the hot crumble, served in the pot, and a ball of sorbet. Garnish with fresh brambles, frothy custard and a dried apple slice.

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