Apple crumble and custard!! Mmmm! Yes Please!!
It's certainly one of those desserts which is likely to be ordered if it's listed on a menu when Mr E & I eat out. The problem comes when said dessert is listed alongside lemon meringue pie and cheesecake! Decisions. Decisions. If I ordered all 3 you wouldn't judge me too harshly would you?! 🙂
Apple crumble, is just one of those understated and simple desserts which just hits the spot.
Now, the idea for these humble Apple Crumble & Custard Cupcakes came to me in the wee small hours one night. 'I'm sure you know what it's like!
Soft apple & sultanas, the spice of cinnamon with the crunch of the crumble topping teamed with a creamy custard topping, all housed in a cupcake!! Mmm, what's not to like! These little beauties were just gorgeous. And the apple crisp poking its head above the parapet; simply delicious!
They were shared out amongst family and neighbours. My folks didn't utter a word as they devoured the cupcake. And our neighbour, well his eyes lit up when he saw the sweet delight I had brought for him!
The sponge was a little different to what I would usually make. I wanted something a little lower in fat than the traditional Victoria mixture, so I used the cupcake method used by The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The custard is actually crème patisserie, it has the vanilla custard flavour and the thickness to allow it to be piped. The apple filling was made with a bramley apple so that it makes a nice soft puree with the addition of sultanas and a hit of cinnamon. If you're not a cinnamon lover, just omit it from the filling, they'll be just as lovely.
As for the apple crisps, I didn't want to spend a small fortune buying some from a store when I could make my own, so I used the method identified by Sally's Baking Addiction. I used two different apples for this; Pink Lady and Royal Gala. Both tasted lovely, but as the apple slices shrink during the long slow bake, I found the Pink Lady was more suitable as the Royal Gaga became a little too small. Not having a mandolin meant I needed to slice the apples ultra thin with a sharp paring knife. Yes, a mandolin would have meant I would have achieved a thinner apple crisp but (I may have lost a finger in the process!) the knife worked just fine by taking my time. As these apple crisps are great to snack on, you could make many more of them whilst the oven is on, as they keep really well stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Each element of the recipe is straight forward, but due to the number of elements involved, I've marked the difficulty as moderate. Please don't let this put you off as it's really straight forward and well worth the effort!
And before we start baking, can I just send out a massive "Thank you" to my 'little' brother, though he's not that little, for very kindly buying me a camera! It certainly makes a difference to use a half decent camera than on old phone! I should now be able to share semi decent images with you now!
So, let's get to it and bake!
Apple Crumble & Custard Cupcakes
Yield: 7 muffin size cupcakes
Time: hands on time 40 minutes; plus 3 hours bake time; cooling time
Adapted from: Sponge: Usual Cupcake recipe used by Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Apple Crisps: Sally's Baking Addiction.
You will need:
Stand mixer or electric hand held mixer
Muffin size paper cases
Muffin Baking Tray
Piping Bag (optional)
For the sponge mixture
120g plain flour
70g caster sugar
70g golden caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
120ml milk, whole or semi skimmed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 capful of vanilla extract
For the Crumble Topping
40g SR flour
20g butter, cubed, chilled
20g caster sugar
For the Apple Filling
1 medium - large Bramley Apple
½ - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
abt 50ml water
For the Crème Patisserie
4 egg yolks
37g caster sugar
300ml double cream
1 - 2 capful of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the Baked Apple Crisps
1 crisp eating apple, such as Pink Lady or Royal Gala, washed
½ tsp caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
How to make them:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c / Fan 160c / Gas 4. Place the muffin cases into the muffin tray.
2. Make the sponge. Place the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and cubed butter into a good size bowl. Using an electric hand beater or stand mixer beat the ingredients on the slowest setting until it resembles sand. Add half of the milk and beat to combine. Lightly mix the remaining milk, egg and vanilla together, then add this to the batter and mix again until combined. Avoid over mixing. Using a dessert spoon, share the mixture between the muffin cases. You're aiming for the cases to be half to three-quarter full.
3. Place in the oven and bake for about 24-28 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after 18 minutes. Once golden brown and springs bake when lightly touched, remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
4. Meanwhile make the apple filling. Peel, core and finely slice the bramley apple. Place into a heavy based pan along with the sugar, cinnamon sultanas and water. Mix. Place on the hob over a low heat and allow to cook down until a relatively thick mixture remains. Stir regularly to avoid the mixture from burning. You may need to add a little more water if the apple hasn't cooked down sufficiently before the water evaporates. Once cooked, decant into a bowl and allow to cool. Set aside.
5. Prepare the crumble mixture. Base line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place the flour, butter and sugar into a bowl. Rub the cubed butter into the flour between your finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs. Spread out the crumble mixture on the lined tray. When the muffins have finished baking, place the crumble mixture into the oven and bake for total of 10-12 minutes until golden brown. After 8 - 9 minutes have passed fork through the crumble mixture to help turn the crumbs over. Once cooked remove from the oven and decant into another bowl. Set aside.
6. Make the apple crisps. Reduce the oven temperature to 110C / Fan 90 / Gas ½. Base line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Either using a mandolin or sharp paring knife (or similar) slice the apples thinly through the equator. Take your time. Lay the apples as a single layer onto the tray. Scatter with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place the tray in the oven and bake for total of 2.5 - 3 hours hours. After 1.25 hours, turn the apple slices over. Once baked through and crisp, remove from the oven and set aside.
7. Meanwhile make the crème patisserie. In a bowl mix together the egg yolks, sugar and flour. Pour the cream, salt and vanilla into a heavy based pan and heat up on the oven hob. Once it reaches boiling point immediately remove from the heat. Pour a little of the cream onto the egg mixture whisking thoroughly. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan and keep whisking. Place back onto a gentle heat to continue cooking the crème patisserie. Keep whisking, avoid the mixture from reaching boiling point. The mixture will start to thicken as it cooks. Should the custard become lumpy at any stage, remove the pan from the heat and beat vigorously with a whisk until smooth again. Once thick, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool, stir periodically. Cover to prevent a skin from developing.
8. Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a cone out of the top of the cupcakes. You may need to make the resultant hole a little bigger by gently scraping a little sponge away with a teaspoon. Fill the hole with some of the apple mixture. Stir the crème patisserie thoroughly. Top the cupcakes with a generous amount of the crème patisserie, either with a spoon or by piping a swirl (no nozzle required). Sprinkle with some of the crumble mixture by holding the cupcake over the bowl so that any 'escaped' crumble pieces are caught. Sit a slice of apple into the topping.