If you’re in the UK you might remember the comedy series The Vicar Of Dibley. It featured a hilarious elderly character named Mrs Cropley, famed in the village in which the show was set for her awful culinary fusions. Included amongst her creations were such horrors as a marmite cake, lemon curd with ham & cheese and chocolate with cod’s roe. To quote the vicar herself she really was the mistress of “cordon bleurgh.” Where is he going with this you might be asking. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all Mrs Cropley on you. At least I hope you won’t think so. However, I’m not averse to a good fusion of foods, that is if they work. As with anything, if you’re going to go with a fusion you’re going to have to accept that sometimes you’re just going to have to give up occasionally. That said, sometimes it’s going to work. Well, yesterday, this one worked. I had my recipe for brownies. I had my recipe for apple crumble. So, I put them together and came up with this. What I essentially wanted to do was create something where there was an element of “surprise.” I wanted the person eating to think they were getting a brownie, only to bite into it and discover within delicious titbits of my apple crumble hidden in the centre. I was so happy with the result, and I really hope you will be too.
It needs a bit of work. You need to make the apple crumble first. Then you need to prepare your brownie mixture and layer the brownie, dividing the mixture in two so that you have the first half, then the apple crumble on top, finished with the final layer of brownie mixture. The result is delicious gooey brownies with that apple crumble surprise in every bite. On their own, with cream, with ice cream or maybe even custard – it’s up to you. In your face Mrs Cropley!
For the apple crumble
4 granny smith apples (peeled, cored and finely sliced)
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
75g porridge oats
125g plain flour
225g dark brown soft sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
125g unsalted butter (melted)
For the brownies
225g unsalted butter (melted)
400g dark brown soft sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
225g plain flour
140g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
First of all you need to make your apple crumble. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. You’ll need a oven dish of roughly 30 cms x 20 cms – a little smaller would be ok.
Place your sliced apples evenly over the base of the dish. Mix the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon of plain flour and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the apples. Pour the 80 ml of water over the apples.
Now to prepare the crumble topping. Combine the oats, 125g of flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter in a bowl using a dessert spoon. I find that you can use it to “break” the mixture up so that it looks more like a crumble mix once it’s all combined. When it is just sprinkle it over the top of the apple mix evenly.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Once baked remove and set aside to cool completely.
Ok, let’s prepare the brownie mixture. The oven temp is the same as it is for the crumble. Tin size, the same, but remember to grease it, you don’t want your brownies welded to the sides & bottom!
In a large bowl beat the sugar, butter and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in until well combined as you go.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Gently fold this into the mixture until well combined. You don’t really want to beat this in, you just want to get it absolutely combined so that there are no horrible bits of flour or cocoa left in.
Ok, assembly. Divide the brownie mixture into two seperate bowls. Add the first half into your prepared baking tin and spread evenly. Get your apple crumble and break it up a little. The idea here is that you don’t want to get bits of crumble topping in places and just apple in others, you want the full effect. So break it up and mix it around a bit. When you’ve done this carefully “crumble” it over the brownie mixture in the tin. It’s a bit trial and error, you might be able to crumble it over, you might have to spoon it over as best you can. The important thing is that you spread it over the mixture without letting it sink. Don’t get right to the edges of the mixture but go as close as you dare.
Finally, spoon over the remaining brownie mixture over the top of the crumble and CAREFULLY spread evenly. You’re trying to hide the fact that the crumble is there so spreading this is worth taking time over. If you fluff it there’s no issue, it’s still going to bake ok, but if you can spread it and disguise the crumble then all the better.
Pop into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the surface no longer looks wet. Brownies, by their nature, don’t “firm up” in the middle but the surface shouldn’t be moist.
Let them cool in the tin and serve as you like, either warm or completely cooled. Enjoy! Feedback welcome!