To celebrate autumn, and the onset of the apple season, here’s a recipe for a great British classic... with a Far Eastern twist
For the crumble topping:
300g plain flour
Pinch of salt
200g brown sugar
200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temperature, plus extra for greasing
For the filling:
75g unsalted butter
1kg English eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped into large chunks
150g caster sugar
Five star anise
One cinnamon stick
To serve (optional):
1 Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
2 To make the crumble topping, put the flour, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time, rub them into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3 Sprinkle the mixture onto a baking sheet in a thin layer, using two sheets if necessary. Bake in the preheated oven for five minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and break with a fork, then return to the oven and repeat the process a couple of times, until you have a lovely crunchy biscuit topping. Set aside; if continuing to cook the apple crumble immediately, do not turn the oven off.
4 To make the filling, heat a wide, shallow, heavy-bottomed pan and melt the butter until it foams. Add the star anise and fry for a minute, then add the apples, sugar and cinnamon, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the apple is soft at the edges. Remove the cinnamon and the star anise, and add a little bit more sugar if you like.
5 To assemble, grease a medium-sized ovenproof dish with butter. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Ensure the oven is preheated to 200C/gas mark 6, and bake for 20 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling. Leave to cool slightly.
6 To serve, put some creme fraiche into a small bowl and mix in some pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with a little pomegranate syrup and serve alongside the crumble.
Recipe taken from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh, photography by Haarala Hamilton, published by BBC Books, £20.