Sunday 1 March 2020

Cooking with Gas (or Electric) - Apple Crumble

It's cookery time again folks! Today I am going to study the humble apple crumble as mentioned in Season 1 Episode 1 - Ruby Reborn.

We all know the old adage "Which came first, the Apple or the Tree"*. Well of course the answer is, of course, the Chili Cheese Dog.

The first food item mentioned in Corner Gas history is a Chili Cheese Dog. Brent Butt added the fact that Brent Leroy loved a Chili Dog to give him an excuse to eat the sausagey treat on set and obviously wanted them on the show straight out of the gate! However, I already gave you a killer recipe for one of those. Not, literally killer by the way, it might make you a bit gassy but you will see it through to the end of the day if you eat one.

The second delectable dish mentioned on the show is an Apple Crumble. This is not, as many of you are thinking, one of Gwyneth Paltrow's kids. It's pudding - which is should be one of Gwynnies kids - Pudding Paltrow.

Geraldene Splunge wished they had bought a modern camera as she sustained third degree burns to her fingers whist standing still waiting for the photo to expose

Before I get to how to make the perfect Apple Crumble lets jump into the pie dish of history, giving a stir with the wooden spoon of time and expand our flaky pastry of knowledge.


This classic of the dinner table is not as old as you would imagine. It was invented in Britain during World War 2. Rationing was in place and due to a shortage of ingredients the British were making pies with anything they had to hand. Anything left laying around the house even remotely edible would be put to good use. Granddad didn't sleep for the length of the conflict for fear he would end up in an omelette.

Little did Hansel and Gretel know ...

People would grown their own vegetables in their garden. I can still picture when Auntie Ethel dug up some fresh ingredients and left them to bake for an hour only to have the oven explode because the Turnips had a Doodlebug in them. Auntie Ethel was last seen traveling across the sky of East Cheam at 300 mph just before she took out the local council offices.

As there were not enough ingredients available to make a whole pie, a simple mixture of flour, margarine and sugar was created to make a topping for popular fillings such as apple or rhubarb.

In the 70's you could have a kitchen in one neutral colour to match your dress so all people saw was a disembodied head preparing the nut cutlets. Alternatively if you couldn't decide, you could have all the colours at once.

An apple crumble is not without controversy! There have been many an apple crumble grumble. Early recipes only mentioned that a chef should use "some apples" rather than specifying particular variations of the tree fruit. No one seems to be able to agree exactly when type of apple to use in cooking. A particularly heated argument in Bexhill On Sea, 1942 had a group of cooks fighting over the decision so ferociously they threw a whole orchards worth of Apples at each other and inadvertently invented Cider.

This book had three pages. How to cook beans. How to make toast. How to put beans on toast.

Here is my recipe for you to try. I have amalgamated the best elements of recipes that I have read around the net (two). Obviously this isn't the official version of the crumble from the show, I don't think I can even claim officially unofficial on this one. However,  I am sure it would do Emma proud!

  • ----------
  • Filling
  • 4 eating apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 2 Bramley cooking apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • Topping
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g flaked almonds  
  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Put all the apples in an ovenproof dish, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
  3. To make the topping, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl, then add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips. The mixture should have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the flaked almonds and mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake the crumble in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are cooked.
  5. Serve with cream or custard.
  6. ----------
  7. So there we have it a pud just like Mamma Leroy would make. Just make sure you have enough time for a nap after you have eaten the whole thing.
  8.  A rare look into the kitchen of Buckingham Palace, 1976. Her royal Magness Lizzie Poohs II looks in disgust, on gravy stirring duty again, as Princess Anne berates Prince Charles for leaving a big hair in the cous cous again.
  9. *I know, I know! Just go with it

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