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Apple and Walnut Crumble

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

In How to Eat, I suggested this as a recipe for two. Yes, my portions are always generous, but the thing is, on certain days, we just ate this, the two of us, for supper in its entirety. Or almost: I always had custard to pour over, too.

Cooked more traditionally, it’s enough for 3 comfortably, and if you have small children eating with you, then it’ll stretch to 4. If you don’t have marsala to hand, do use rum; if you want to do without the alcohol altogether, then use apple juice to plump up the sultanas.

I use an oval pie dish for this, squat dish, rather than wide and shallow with a capacity of just under a litre / 4 cups. You can go smaller, but don’t go larger.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

In How to Eat, I suggested this as a recipe for two. Yes, my portions are always generous, but the thing is, on certain days, we just ate this, the two of us, for supper in its entirety. Or almost: I always had custard to pour over, too.

Cooked more traditionally, it’s enough for 3 comfortably, and if you have small children eating with you, then it’ll stretch to 4. If you don’t have marsala to hand, do use rum; if you want to do without the alcohol altogether, then use apple juice to plump up the sultanas.

I use an oval pie dish for this, squat dish, rather than wide and shallow with a capacity of just under a litre / 4 cups. You can go smaller, but don’t go larger.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Apple and Walnut Crumble
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 2-3

Metric Cups
  • 25 grams raisins or sultanas
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons marsala
  • 100 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams unsalted butter (cold, and cut into little squares)
  • 60 grams walnut pieces
  • 45 grams light brown sugar plus 1 heaped tablespoon
  • 1 large or 3 medium - approx 500 grams - cooking apples such as Bramley
  • 2 tablespoons raisins or golden raisins
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons marsala
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, and cut into little squares)
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar plus 1 heaped tablespoon
  • 3 medium - approx 1 pound - Macintosh apples

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 190°C/170°C Fan/375°F. Put the raisins or sultanas in a small saucepan, add the marsala, bring to a bubble, then turn off the heat, and leave the pan to stand on the still warm hob.
  2. Add the flour to a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips: the crumble should be like rubbly meal or porridge oats.
  3. Finely chop the walnuts: you want small pieces but the odd bigger nugget doesn’t matter; in fact it’s a good thing. Using a fork, stir into the crumble mixture followed by the 45g / ¼ cup sugar. Set aside in a cool place, or the fridge – even stash in the deep-freeze – while you prepare the apples.
  4. Peel the apples, quarter them, then cut out the core, then slice each quarter in half across if the apples are on the smaller side. If you’re using a large apple, slice each quarter across into three or four pieces.
  5. Add the fruit to the marsala-steeped sultanas in their pan, stir in the tablespoon of sugar, then turn the heat back on a bring to a bubble, before putting on a tightly fitting lid on and let cook for 5 minutes or so, until the apples have softened a little at the edges, giving the pan a good shake once or twice in that time. Transfer to a small oval pie dish (see intro), cover with the crumble mixture, and cook in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes by which time the fruit will be soft and the crumble topping golden on top, but brown around the edges and in parts.
  1. Preheat the oven 190°C/170°C Fan/375°F. Put the raisins or golden raisins in a small saucepan, add the marsala, bring to a bubble, then turn off the heat, and leave the pan to stand on the still warm hob.
  2. Add the flour to a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips: the crumble should be like rubbly meal or porridge oats.
  3. Finely chop the walnuts: you want small pieces but the odd bigger nugget doesn’t matter; in fact it’s a good thing. Using a fork, stir into the crumble mixture followed by the 45g / ¼ cup sugar. Set aside in a cool place, or the fridge – even stash in the deep-freeze – while you prepare the apples.
  4. Peel the apples, quarter them, then cut out the core, then slice each quarter in half across if the apples are on the smaller side. If you’re using a large apple, slice each quarter across into three or four pieces.
  5. Add the fruit to the marsala-steeped sultanas in their pan, stir in the tablespoon of sugar, then turn the heat back on a bring to a bubble, before putting on a tightly fitting lid on and let cook for 5 minutes or so, until the apples have softened a little at the edges, giving the pan a good shake once or twice in that time. Transfer to a small oval pie dish (see intro), cover with the crumble mixture, and cook in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes by which time the fruit will be soft and the crumble topping golden on top, but brown around the edges and in parts.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The crumble topping and apple base can both be made ahead, but kept separately and assembled just before baking. The topping should be put in an airtight container or resealable bag and kept in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen in a bag for up to 3 months and used from frozen. The base should be put in the dish you are going to bake it in, covered tightly with clingfilm and refrigerated - it will keep for 1-2 days. Allow an extra 5-10 minutes baking time if you are cooking from chilled.

This recipe from HOW TO EAT has been adapted for online purposes.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The crumble topping and apple base can both be made ahead, but kept separately and assembled just before baking. The topping should be put in an airtight container or resealable bag and kept in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen in a bag for up to 3 months and used from frozen. The base should be put in the dish you are going to bake it in, covered tightly with clingfilm and refrigerated - it will keep for 1-2 days. Allow an extra 5-10 minutes baking time if you are cooking from chilled.

This recipe from HOW TO EAT has been adapted for online purposes.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • Walnuts were a lovely idea. Oatmeal worked well and tasted much nicer than plain white flour.

    Posted by VEsmay on 4th October 2020
  • I made this recipe using apple cider rather than marsala or rum. Excellent dish with a side of whipped cream.

    Posted by JeanineMB on 20th October 2019
  • Delicious crumble!

    Posted by BulaBula on 14th March 2019
  • When I make the crumble I always spread the crumble on an oven sheet and precook in the oven for a short while before topping the fruit with it in the oven dish and then proceed to cook the whole thing as prescribed, that way none of the crumble is soggy and it all has a good crunchy finish.

    Posted by chris-b on 10th March 2019
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