Readers, as we are now into the throws of yucky January I simply cannot resist a comforting, warming, British dessert at the weekend. Yes folks, its time for the humble apple crumble. Delicious, simple to make and there’s only really four main ingredients... ...Well unless you deal with requests from Mr What Claire Baked. Ever since Florida, he has been obsessed with caramel sauce dips for apples. We picked some up in Walmart and brought them home with us. Supplies are since long eaten, so it was time to take matters into my own hands. This wasn’t any apple crumble, this was going to be caramel apple crumble. A tip – make your caramel sauce first, let it cool in a bowl, then add it to the recipe. Readers take note – sugar and heat are a difficult combo. I used the wet method -using sugar and water -which in theory is meant to be easier than dry (sugar only), but I still took two attempts. Round 1 – I waited a little too long for a golden caramel colour and ended up with chocolate brown burnt sugar. I even managed to disintegrate the bin bag from the heat of my molten liquid. Definitely not edible… Gone too far - see burning around the edges! Round two was much more successful – reduced the heat, had a little patience (in the words of Take That) and ended up with a pale caramel mixture which was ideal for sauce. Caramel sauce success So here goes… Claire’s Caramel Apple Crumble with Home Made Caramel Sauce Caramel Sauce I adapted Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found here and did half quantities (there’s still some left, so this serves three, plus extra) Ingredients 125g caster sugar 6 dessert spoons water 85ml double cream 25g butter Method Tip sugar into heavy based saucepan and add 6 dessert spoons water. Stir to mix. Place pan over a low to medium heat and do not stir. Watch for sugar melting and swirl pan if necessary. Turn up the heat to medium and keep a close eye on the sugar as it boils. When the mix starts to turn from clear bubbling to a pale gold, take off the heat and carefully stir in the butter and cream. Stir until smooth and combined, then transfer to a heat proof dish to cool. Claire’s Caramel Apple Crumble Ingredients - serves 3 4 apples (I used Royal Gala which were left in the fridge) 100g caster sugar 150g plain flour (again for gluten free – switch to gluten free flour) 75g butter Your home made caramel sauce Ground cinnamon Method Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 if you are planning to cook the crumble right away. Fill a pan with water and a squeeze of lemon juice (I like to keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge for times like these). Peel and core your apples, then cut into chunks and place in the pan to stop them browning. Apples in pan with lemon juice and water to prevent browning Drain the water from the pan and add half the caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, then place on the hob, with the lid on, at a medium heat. Ready to go on the hob Keep checking and stirring the pan and once the apples are beginning to soften, add a pinch of ground cinnamon (if this is to your taste). Stir in 3 teaspoons of your caramel sauce towards the end of cooking and cook through, stirring regularly until combined. Remove apples from heat and transfer to an oven proof dish. Pour on a little more of your sauce if desired. In oven proof dish, ready for crumble Whilst cooling, make your crumble by adding the flour and cubed butter to a bowl. Rub both together with your hands until large breadcrumbs are made. Then, stir in the remaining sugar and mix well. Crumble ready to go on top of the apples Pour the crumble evenly over the apples and bake for 25-30 minutes. One fully assembled crumble Remove from oven and serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. And serve! Claire’s Tips You can make both parts of the crumble in advance. Just cool the filling before you reheat with the topping. The topping can be made in advance and stored in a bowl with cling film covering, in the fridge. (Bring back to room temp before cooking). Try a tablespoon of brown sugar in your topping for a little extra crunch. Try adding some raspberries to the filling, when in season, for a more tart flavour, as this recipe is quite sweet. The filling would also be good for an apple pie – scale up accordingly.