I’ll admit now that this blog post is definitely the most spontaneous one yet even though the flavours are fairly basic. The recipe came about from a combination of an early finish from work and a hungry father whinging that there was ‘nowt to eat’ with his cup of tea. After beating an answer out of him (not literally) to find out what he actually fancied, I came up with these little apple and ginger crumble shortbreads. I have made a similar rhubarb crumble shortbread at work before which has proved quite popular, but since I was limited to the ingredients I had in the house I decided to go for a more traditional take.
However, this wouldn’t have been the case had I been able to do the blog post I originally had planned. Since I am trying to use products from the farm shop
fortnightly, I was planning on continuing the trend with a small bottle of Ludovici limoncello
. Being a Geordie, I will overlook the fact that it is made in Sunderland because it is absolutely delicious. The owner visited our shop for a taster day: she was a really lovely lady and the limoncello had a lovely warmth to it. It would be brilliant in a cocktail, as an accompaniment to a dessert or even by itself, which is how it is traditionally drank. Unfortunately for me, my standard clumsiness meant the drive of my house was the only one who got to sample it! So while I can almost guarantee that ludovici will be making an appearance at some point, this week it is not meant to be.
But back to the shortbread. I started with the same shortbread base I used in my recipe for lemon and earl grey caramel shortbread
and built upon this by stewing some apples with some stem ginger, some syrup and some Demerara sugar. I used eating apples because it was all I had in the house, but cooking apples break down much easier and therefore would be a better substitute were you trying to get as close to a traditional crumble as possible. The apple tree in my garden will also be making an appearance soon, but I decided trying pieces of apple might be nicer in this case. Once the mix had cooled I also added some ginger jam and then sprinkled over some crumble before baking. I learnt how to make this crumble from one of my friends at work and give her full credit for how tasty it is! She is known as the dessert queen, which it think she rightfully claims as she actually wings a lot of her recipes. However, her instincts have resulted in marriage proposals so she’s definitely doing something right! I therefore have to admit that the recipe is somewhat vague on the crumble part; once you have an idea of what to add to get the right consistency you’re on track, but I’ve tried to give a rough idea on how you would make it. I also had loads of crumble mix left over, which isn’t always ideal but gives an excuse for a sneaky pud ahead of the autumn months to come.
I have to admit that I expected these to be a winner in my house. My mums favourite pudding is crumble, so I thought an opportunity to have it with a cup of tea would have been well received. However, I was a bit short on the apple front and they were quite dry, meaning they achieved almost the exact opposite. Although my parents said they could have been nice, they still needed some work. But you win some and you lose some! So on the whole I would personally recommend more apple, which I will make allowances for in my recipe, but otherwise I hope you enjoy!
Apple and Ginger Crumble Shortbreads (makes approx. 16)
For the shortbread:
- 150g Unsalted Butter
- 225g Self Raising Flour
- 75g Caster Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lemon
For the apple filling:
- 5 apples
- 4 stem ginger balls with syrup
- Demerara sugar
- 4 tsp ginger jam
For the crumble (rough guidelines):
- 85g butter
- 80g oats, or 60g oats and 20g oat bran
- 20g demerara sugar
- 20g light brown soft sugar
- 20g mixed nuts (e.g. walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- 40g plain flour
- Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ 325F
- To make the apple filling peel, core and finely slice all the apples. You will find your chopping needs to be more precise if you use eating apples over cooking apples.
- Put the apple in a sauce pan with the ginger, about 4tbsp of ginger syrup, a splash of water and a good sprinkle of demerara sugar. Leave to cook over a medium heat until the apples soften.
- Meanwhile to make the shortbread place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and blitz. Keep blitzing until the ingredients start to come together in a dough like consistency. If you do not have a food processor mix the flour and sugar, then rub in the butter until you reach a breadcrumb like consistency. Press this down into a lined baking tin and set to one side.
- Check your apple mix. If the apples are soft enough remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir through the ginger jam while the mix is still warm.
- To make the crumble mix completely melt all the butter in a saucepan. Put this in a stand mixer with the beater attachment and add all the other ingredients. Beat gently until all the ingredients come together to form a crumble like mix. You can adjust the consistency by adding more melted butter if it is too dry or more oats or flour if it is too wet. Don’t be afraid to add more sugar if you want it a bit sweeter.
- To assemble the crumble shortbread, spread the apple mix over the raw shortbread base and then sprinkle the crumble over the top so it completely covers the whole thing. You may also want to add a final sprinkle of demerara sugar to add a bit of crunch.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes and remove when golden and the shortbread is baked. You can do this by cutting a small amount off the corner.