“Tamarind isn’t something you’d usually find in an apple crumble, but then neither are you likely to find fennel seeds in a crunchy crumble topping,” says chef Ryan Riley, co-founder of Life Kitchen, a not-for-profit cookery school for cancer patients.
“I can assure you, though, that these simple twists do nothing but wow. Sweet-and-sour apple crumble is about to usher you in to a whole new era of dessert deliciousness.”
Sweet-and-sour apple crumble with sweet basil cream
2 eating apples, peeled, cored
and chopped into 1cm pieces
2tsp tamarind paste
1tsp ground cardamom
1tsp vanilla paste
1tsp caster sugar
For the topping:
2tbsp caster sugar
45g plain flour
1tsp ground fennel seeds
30g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
1 lemon, zested, to decorate
For the sweet basil cream:
10 basil leaves
2tbsp golden caster sugar
100ml double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
2. Place the apples, tamarind, cardamom, vanilla, sugar and a splash of water in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for four to six minutes, until the apples are soft.
3. To make the topping, in a bowl, work the sugar, flour, ground fennel and chilled butter together with your fingertips, rubbing until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
4. Put the apple mixture into a medium-sized ovenproof dish (about 20–25 centimetres diameter), top it with the crumble mixture in an even layer and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the top has turned golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
5. Meanwhile, make the sweet basil cream. Make a basil sugar by pulsing the basil leaves and sugar in a food processor until just combined. Set this aside while you whip the cream to soft peaks. Then, gently fold one tablespoon of the basil sugar through the cream until evenly combined. (You can store the remaining basil sugar for another dish; it will keep for up to three days in an airtight container, although it may lose some of its vibrant colour – but not its flavour – in that time.)
6. Scatter the lemon zest over the warm crumble, then serve in spoonfuls with sweet basil cream on the side.
Small Pleasures: Joyful Recipes For Difficult Times by Ryan Riley is published by Bloomsbury, priced £22. Photography by Craig Robertson. Available now