Apple Oat Crumble – A Scottish French Alliance

Apple oat crumble French style

Who would have thought that the good old Apple Crumble would be so popular in Paris these days? The best of our humble British warm puddings has been popping up on French blackboards for winter specials of the day for either dessert – or even teatime. What’s more, the French manage to make it sound so romantic, so wonderfully French with the soft roll of the tongue around “Crumbeulle” or Crum-belle. Beautiful, isn’t it?

What? Apple Oat Crumble Served on its own?

Unlike how we serve it back home in Scotland with good, homemade vanilla custard, the French don’t even serve it with their runnier version called Crème Anglaise. Instead it’s either served with a boule of ice cream, some whipped Chantilly cream, or mostly just comme ça – entirely on it’s own.

What? Mon Dieu. No custard? Served on its own? You’d think this is an ideal opening for a rant about Brexit, but there’s nothing political about this dessert.  But now I’ve mentioned it, I’ll quickly vent my fury as a British Citizen, unable to vote with my British Passport, proudly kept while living in France for 24 years.  So why can’t I vote?  I’ve been living in Paris for over 15 years. After 15 years, no vote. As simple as that.  C’est un scandale!  I dare say the proof will be in the pudding as the others vote at Britain’s referendum on EU membership on 23 June while my British identity crumbles.

With enough butter, anything is good.”  Julia Child

Apple oat tatin crumble

Julia wasn’t the only chef to notice just how much the French love their butter; that’s the secret to their crumbles eaten sec without any toppings. Before I always placed the chopped up raw fruit directly into a buttered pudding dish but over the years, this recipe has evolved into a more French crumbeulle, with just enough butter – but not too much – to give it that extra richness without it being heavy and to bring out the flavour of the apples.

If you do have access to gooseberries or blackberries/brambles (fresh or frozen) then combine them with the apples. Individual crumbles are also perfect for teatime.  Here, I baked them for the same amount of time as the family size, and it was so caramelised, you could call it a Crumble Tatin!

For that touch of Scotland, to keep up the Old Alliance with the French and the Scots, I love just a touch of oats to the crumble – almost like a Scottish Frushie, an old Scots word for crumble. And just about forgot to mention that the Apple Oat Crumble topping freezes so well.  Make double quantity and freeze the rest (unbaked) for an extra speedy weekday dessert!


Teatime in Paris

Now and again, I’ll be introducing you to some of the recipes in Teatime in Paris, showing you more ideas how you can serve the treats in the book – and now there’s a new Pinterest Board, “Baking with Teatime in Paris” to accompany it.

Choux Crumbles

Trust the French to come up with a light film of crumble that sticks so wonderfully to a puff of choux pastry. The recipe is in the book, but the other day I filled the puffs with the filling from this apple crumble.  I simply blitzed it in the mixer to turn it into a rather special compôte.  As it’s extra light, I would urge you to serve a small dollop on top of Calvados ice cream or a simple scoosh of Chantilly cream – and why not decorate the plate with a spooned flash of salted caramel sauce and top with an edible flower?

apple crumble French choux presentation - Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna