Heston’s Perfect Roast Chicken recipe deserves the perfect dessert to follow it – Apple Crumble with Custard.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Heston’s Perfect Roast Chicken recipe was an absolute train-wreck: loads of long, complicated and unnecessary steps. The result was worse in most ways to cooking a bird the normal way for Sunday lunch.

Thankfully dessert was much more successful. We picked Heston’s Apple and Sultana Crumble recipe as it seemed like the perfect dish to follow a traditional Sunday lunch.

SUMMARY

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Recipes: Heston Blumenthal’s Apple & Sultana Crumble recipe

Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: Vanilla pods, gingerbread

Time: About 1 hour
Cost: Under £5

Serves: 4
Difficulty: Easy

 INGREDIENTS

Crumble

  • 70g Unrefined caster Sugar
  • 110g Unsalted Butter
  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 90g Plain Flour
  • Gingerbread
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Filling

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 Braeburn apples
  • 150g Unsalted Butter
  • 100g raisins

Custard

  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g unrefined caster sugar

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter
  2. Combine all the crumble ingredients until reduced to crumbs
  3. Lay baking parchment on a tray. Spread mixture evenly across tray
  4. Bake at 180C for 15 – 30 minutes or until golden, turning regularly
  5. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds
  6. Peel and core the apples then cut into small cubes
  7. melt butter in  pan and cook apples for 2 minutes
  8. Add cinnamon and raisins, cook for 3 more minutes
  9. Place compote in an ovenproof dish, cover with the crumble topping and bake for 10 – 15 minutes
  10. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod
  11. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and creamy
  12. Heat milk and cream in a pan until simmering
  13. Pour cream mixture onto eggs and beat to combine
  14. Return mixture to the pan and heat until thickened (approximately 75C)

REPORT

Heston’s Apple Crumble and Custard recipe takes the novel approach of dividing the dish into 2 steps. The crumble topping and apple compote are made separately then assembled at the end. Custard is surprisingly conventional.

Step 1: Making the Crumble

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

First mix together flour, ground almonds, sugar, salt and the gingerbread. As you can see we went for a fairly conventional source of gingerbread. We did remove the smarties before mixing, but the eyes and smile stayed in as a surprise treat.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Then melt some butter…

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

… and add to the dry mixture. You’re meant to do this in a food processor to produce crumbs. We thought it’d be fine to mix by hand. Our result was more of a paste, but left to dry on a baking sheet  for ten minutes then broken up by hand it looked fine.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

This now needs to be baked for about 15 minutes, then reserved to top your cooked apples with.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Step 2: Cooking the Apples & Sultanas

No prizes for guessing the first step here: peeling, coring and dicing the apples.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

These are cooked for a few minutes in a pan of butter (as always with Heston, more butter than you’d deem necessary) before adding the sultanas, along with the seeds from one vanilla pod and a pinch of cinnamon.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Cook together for another few minutes, then finish off by baking your fruit mixture in the oven for 20 minutes.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

After this it’s ready to be topped with the crumble you made earlier. And there’s your finished dessert.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Step 3: Custard

Well, nearly finished. Of course you’ll need custard to go with it.

Heat some cream, milk and vanilla seeds until simmering…

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

… then whisk some egg yolks and sugar. Pour the first onto the second…

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

…and return to the pan, cooking until it coats the back of a spoon.

heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

Not pictured: We really like the whole aerating thing at the moment, so we gave the custard the hand blender treatment to foam it full of bubbles. Yeah, it’s cheesy but it’s also a great trick and gives your custard a supremely velvety mouthfeel. Just remember to hold the hand blender slightly out of the liquid so it can drag in air to create the bubbles.

VERDICT

  heston blumenthal family food apple and sultana crumble recipe

This is a very refined, mature kind of apple crumble, with a curiously al-dente texture to the baked apples. Maybe we ought to have cooked them a bit longer in the pan, as the cubes not only retained all of their shape but perhaps a bit too much of their bite.

We might’ve overdone the crumble slightly, but it had a fantastic crunchy texture that most apple crumble recipes lack. We had half the crumble topping left over. It freezes very well for future use.

There’s enough twists on a standard apple crumble recipe to make this recipe worth trying out.

NEXT TIME

This was a great dish, but for personal preferences we’d do the following:

  • Add some crushed whole almonds to the crumble for even more texture
  • Cook the apples with less butter
  • Cook the apples for longer for a softer texture

If you’ve tried this recipe yourself, or have a favourite crumble recipe that you’d always swear by then please tell us about it in the comments section.