There are so many reasons to be happy about autumn. The colours that burst out: clouds of purple leaves, ochre tree trunks in the sunset, a blue-chill wind (we all like a bit of synaesthesia, don’t we?) Losing your feet in a thick layer of rusty leaves, soaking up cooler rays of sun. And my birthday was last week, which adds some fun to September.
Autumn also adds another exciting dimension to dog walks. This appears in the form of plump, wine coloured blackberries that you can munch while you amble. I have often ended up at the back of a walking procession, lost in a bush and emerging with magenta stained fingertips afterwards. But they count towards my five a day so I am A ok with it.
It was on one of these walks that I remembered to take a plastic bag and I enlisted the help of my parents and twin to fill the bag. They didn’t start out too enthusiastically but by the end I was having to drag them away from the fruit so we’d get back to our house before it grew dark. We had a hefty loot, which unfortunately was then swung around for the next couple of hours on the walk. However, no end of the world here because I was planning to make some sort of crumble.
The truth is I wanted to make a sort of cobbler, but with oats and more like a crumble. An oaty dough without self-raising flour, so the topping would soak up some juices and be chewy against soft apple and tarty blackberries. I started with a crumble formula that my mum always uses, substituted some flour for oats, added more oats and then some milk to make a sort of dough. I then covered apple and blackberries with flat circles of the dough before baking it for 30 minutes.
My decision to add lemon zest to the ‘dough’ came to me because it creates a lovely aroma when baking and I think it compliments the blackberries and apple very well.
I think this recipe is a lovely one for autumn, it’s dead easy to make and there isn’t excessive amounts of sugar in it either (if you keep the fruit quite tart). The rich colours and fruity fragrance puts you right in the mood for autumn.
40g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon milk
1 large cooking apple
1 tablespoon caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
- Put the flour, oats, demerara sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and combine as if it were a crumble, mixing with your fingertips to create fine crumbs
- Add the lemon zest and stir to spread evenly
- Add the milk and squash the crumble together until a dough is formed – if it is too wet, add a handful more oats
- Core and slice the apple into half moons
- Arrange the apple and blackberries in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle with sugar and stir the fruit
- Pinch rounds of dough and squash them into circles with your palms, then lay them atop the fruit
- Before placing in the oven, press the dough into the fruit so the juices go up into the dough
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown