Yet another apple crumble?

Being an avid baker ever since I was a kid, I have attempted making many things over the years, often with varying degrees of success and failure. I have impatiently attempted filo pastry from scratch, struggled through bagels and crumpets, pulled a triumphant pan of slightly singed flapjacks out of the oven, fried cinnamon donuts, cannoli and churros, made apple tarte tatin, and watched my thighs swell with pride at the sight and taste of sticky date pudding, pineapple upside down cake, banana bread and carrot cake. I have also baked scones (some heavy like rocks, some light as a feather) and chocolate chip cookies (repeatedly!), and slathered homemade strawberry jam on homemade bread. However, there are still some things that manage to slip past my radar, whenever I find myself in the kitchen.

I recently compiled a mental list of things I have yet to make, and that I would consider a crime if I never got round to attempting at least once in my lifetime. Things on that list include :

– Portuguese tarts
– Seville orange marmalade
– a marble or chequerboard cake
– panettone
– Michel Bras’ chocolate coulant
– a salad bowl of ice-creams (I bought some Dodoni feta the other day and am now obsessed with the idea of making a frozen Greek salad. Tomato sorbet, cucumber sorbet and black olive sorbet with Dodoni feta?)

(If anyone out there has very good and authentic recipes for any of the above (especially the Portuguese tarts), feel free to share! Please. πŸ™‚ )

So with that list in mind, you’re probably thinking, what on earth am I doing making yet another apple crumble? Actually, this crumble is a little different, and does feature something I’ve been meaning to try.

I used to work with a French Canadian waitress who apart from being a fantastic waitress, also had a great love for food (it seems only fitting that she now runs her own cafe). I still recall her stories about the best maple syrup she would get back home, about the feasts she would have with family and friends and how she loved eating apple pie with a big slice of cheddar cheese. Serving apple pie with cheese was a new thing to me then, and I screwed my face up at the thought of it, having grown up with apple pie and nothing else but scoops of vanilla ice cream. Over time, I kind of warmed to the idea, so when I saw Elizabeth Falkner’s recipe for Apple of my eye, featuring tarte tatin apples, cheddar crumbles, cinnamon ice cream and a balsamic-apple reduction, I knew I had to try it. After making a few alterations (I included blackberry in my balsamic-apple reduction, and used a macadamia ice-cream instead of the suggested cinnamon one), I ended up with the dessert as pictured above.

The verdict? The balance of flavours is great and the resulting dish isn’t overly sweet. The cheddar crumbles, which also has bits of chopped pecan through it, is very tasty, even on it’s own, and I especially love the balsamic reduction which I foresee myself incorporating into other desserts in the future. In other words, I now know that I like apple pie (or crumble) and cheese as a combination, but I also know that it’s never going to replace the heavenly combination of apple pie and vanilla ice-cream that I have loved so much, ever since I was a kid.

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  1. Lorraine E said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

    Greta dessert as always Y! I’m intrigued by the idea of cheddar and apples, like you, I’ve always had it with vanilla ice cream and more recently, with cinnamon ice cream. But cheddar is a new one! Like the glass too πŸ˜‰

  2. Christy said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

    Somehow cheddar and apple did not sound so strange after my eye-opening experience with packham pears and parmigiano reggiano. When J first handed me a slice, my first response was, ” What the….”, but being someone so devoted to food, I decided it would be a shame not to try. I did. And I loved it!!

    As for Elizabeth Falkner, I own a copy of Demolition Desserts and still trying to find time to make all the components of the Spanish Quincition and plate them together. *Shamefaced*

    I love that you served them in a glass; makes it so much easier for the eater. How is it that you manage to make these wonderful and complex desserts when you are working full time as a pastry chef at one of Australia’s top restaurants, I really must wonder.

  3. Christie@fig&cherry said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

    Well that solves my problem of always wanting a cheese course but then passing because I won’t be able to fit in a pudding… nice!

    Oh and Warm Portuguese Tarts are the (2nd) love of my life!!! Have you been to Petersham? If not, you must. I’ll take you there.

  4. Mari said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

    This is definitely taking apple crumble to new heights. I like the sound of a balsamic-apple-blackberry reduction.

  5. Duncan | Syrup&Tang said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 11:37 pm

    Wellllll now… there is a recipe for Portuguese custard tarts which was published in The Age a few years ago by… me! It took about 16 batches to develop (and a weight-gain of a few kilos). However, I’m a better baker now and one of my impending projects is to reassess that recipe and see if I can do better. I’m not aware of any recipe online or published in a book, in English or Portuguese, which will actually yield the correct commercial result. I do know of many which are just crap… wilfully misleading homecooks into a cul-de-sac of disappointment. If you’re willing to hang on a little while, I’m hoping to have something done by about the end of October. πŸ™‚

  6. Anita said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 1:05 am

    The second I saw the photo I knew where it was from before I even read your post! I have her book too and I want to make everything in there, yet have only made a few so far. Your rendition looks perfect – and very yummy as well!

  7. Gabriela said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 1:36 am

    mmm apple crumble, can’t go wrong.

  8. cathy x. said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    ooh how absolutely delightful! πŸ˜› i’ll be trying my hand at making apple pie this afternoon hehe i have a kilo of butter in the fridge.. just in case. hopefully i won’t have to take the batteries out of the smoke alarms this time. are you getting the alinea cookbook when it comes out? i can’t wait!

  9. Aran said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 2:24 am

    i have tried it and it is fantastic!

  10. Vera said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 2:25 am

    Y, your crumble looks delicious, and sounds great too. I love cheddar-apple pie together.
    Your list “to make things” doesn’t look long to me. You’ve sure baked a lot πŸ™‚ As for Portuguese tarts, I myself was thinking about them lately. Maybe Leonor from flagrante delicia could help. We should ask her, I guess.

  11. arfi said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 3:40 am

    looks delicious, Y. i’m wondering if i’ve eaten Portugese food.

  12. Thip said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 3:42 am

    I have to try apple pie with cheddar sometimes soon. πŸ™‚

  13. matt wright said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 4:03 am

    You can never do too many apple crumbles. This one just looks perfect. Nice job!

  14. Y said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 10:02 am

    Christy: The Quinsition is one of the other ones I’ve bookmarked to try too (as well as the deconstructed cheesecake) ! I love the idea of Manchego churros, but was going to substitute the membrillo for a quince dipping custard. Maybe we should both set ourselves a deadline to make it and post about it? πŸ™‚

    Christie: Not yet, but one day.. I always seem to find myself in the kitchen whenever I have free time. Funny that πŸ˜›

    Lorraine: The cheddar crumble is a good way to ease yourself into the idea of a cheese and apple dessert. The crumble bits are cheesy, but not overly so.

    Duncan: End of October!? That’s ages away! Argh. Can’t I have a sneak preview now please please?

    Cathy: Yup! Have it on preorder, along with a couple of other books that are going to take _months_ to arrive *groan*. And you certainly can never have too much butter in the house! I know I’m always running out of the stuff πŸ˜€

    Vera: That isn’t the entire list, just a sample! Don’t worry, the actual list is much much longer than that. Maybe we should start a portuguese tart baking project? I want to make one that is as close to authentic as possible πŸ™‚

    Arfi: Same here! I might have to start searching out some recipes for savoury stuff, or look for a decent restaurant to go to.

  15. cakebrain said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

    What an awesome looking dessert! Apple crumble, apple pie and anything with apple and pastry combined are my first choices for dessert! mmmm. This looks so good!
    Um, you commented on my blog that you make rice krispies squares without marshmallow? How? I thought by definition, a rice krispie square has marshmallow and rice krispies as the main ingredients. How would it hold together in squares without it? do tell!

  16. belle said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

    If it’s portuguese tarts you’re after, then you have to try Bill Grainger’s version (from Everyday, I think). They are really good! Lorraine/NQN has posted on it.

  17. Jude said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

    Never heard of portuguese tarts before… Since it’s first on your list I’ll be looking forward to your post and recipe! πŸ˜‰

  18. grace said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

    to me, nothing will ever top warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, even if cheese is involved. πŸ™‚ i love that you tossed in some blackberry in that balsamic reduction, which is something i’ve yet to try. good luck tackling that list! πŸ™‚

  19. the caked crusader said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

    it sounds (and looks) a grown up apple crumble. I love the idea of a balsamic apple reduction.
    Great photo

  20. noobcook said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

    woah… these has got to be the loveliest apple crumble I’ve seen πŸ˜€ Thanks for visiting me, I’m glad to find your lovely food blog with such beautiful photography πŸ˜€

  21. linda said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

    Wonderful combination of flavours. I love the combination of raw apple and cheese but I’ve never had it baked before, should be delicious too!

  22. pea and pear said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

    oh Y, you’ve done it again…….This sounds like an amazing combination I am a total believer that this could be great. I’ve never been afraid of mixing flavours, I think it stems from watching my best friend in primary school with a jam doughnut in one hand and a sausage roll in the other taking a bite alternately from each…hehehehe

  23. Leonor said,

    September 13, 2008 @ 8:31 am


    Your apple crumble looks delicious!! πŸ™‚

    (I was looking for your e-mail to drop you a note about the portuguese custard tart… At this moment I’m working on some traditional portuguese pastries… Please send me an e-mail! πŸ™‚ )

    ps. Definitely the portuguese custard recipes on the www are very far from the original…

  24. FFichiban said,

    September 13, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

    Yay for apple crumbles and the cheddar crumble and balsamic-apple reduction sounds like a great twist. For the portuguese tart there is a recipe from the cooking guide but I am not sure how good or authentic is it.

  25. Chris said,

    September 13, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    Wow, that’s certainly an interesting combination. I love apple crumble, and I love cheese, so it sounds like something very much worth trying ^^

  26. Zita said,

    September 13, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

    Seville orange marmalade…. ehemm… bringing back memories of smeling citrus strolling down sevilla’s streets…

    Macademian ice cream goes with everything, I guess? πŸ˜‰

  27. Mike said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 6:11 am

    I love the elegant flavor combinations you come up with. Normally, to me, a crumble is kind of a messy, rustic thing, but this is definitely more than your everyday crumble. Fantastic work! Also, I’d heard of the apple/cheddar thing, but have yet to try it…this seems like just the kick in the butt I need

  28. Thanh said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    Hi Y, I’ve only started baking over a year ago, so my list of things that I must try making is much much longer than yours. But on that list as a must try is Portugese tarts.

    I was just speaking to a friend yesterday night in fact and he asked me if I knew where he could buy Portugese tarts that tasted as good as the ones we tried in Hong Kong. Unfortunately I only know one place that makes fairly good tarts. I was telling him that I must learn how to make them myself.

    Now we both have to wait for Duncan’s recipe. If I’m lucky, Duncan may even give me a real life demonstration on how to make them.

  29. Duncan | Syrup&Tang said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

    I have news… of sorts… I felt inspired/encouraged/pushed into trying out my old recipe:P Much to my surprise (I should have more faith in myself!) the recipe does work! LOL. I’ve emailed you, Y, but for others who are interested, the article was originally published here. Please ignore the stupid picture they published with it (they mixed up the correct pic with some rubbish in their archive). After today’s effort in the kitchen, there are a few things I might change/reassess, so the revised version will eventually appear on my site after some experimentation and comparison πŸ™‚ Happy eating.

  30. Helen said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

    No-one makes me want to eat sweet things as much as you do – and I’ve always been savoury biased (look, I can’t help it ok?!). When I see your beautiful creations they never fail to make me want to grab them, curl up somewhere alone and savour the flavours. I also want to urge you to make the seville marmalade asap! I REALLY want to see that.

  31. Naama said,

    September 15, 2008 @ 12:36 am

    What an interesting recipe! looks really good πŸ™‚

  32. Sophie said,

    September 15, 2008 @ 8:45 am

    I really like the changes; the macadamia ice cream sounds amazing! What a tasty flavor. Apple crumble anything has my name on it :).

  33. Teresa said,

    September 15, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

    WOW! this looks fantastic! Will definately try this out tonight. Nice work on all the great recipes too!

  34. Tartelette said,

    September 18, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

    Looks like we had crumble on the mind πŸ™‚ Love it with ice cream and I only made it a couple of times with cheese and I really liked it. Don’t have the book but it sounds awesome!

  35. clumbsycookie said,

    September 19, 2008 @ 8:53 am

    I have so many things that I haven’t baked yet, like angel food cake or red velvet… Maybe because they’re not so popular here… Someday I’ll make them. I’m portuguese, you know? I used to make a lot of portuguese tarts in a bakery I worked in the beggining of this year. Unfortunatly they didn’t share the cream recipe, but I got the all procedure. The puff pastry part is the tricky part and I got that! I’ve been meaning to try different fillings recipes I’ve collected and hopefully develop my own. I’m glad to help in any question whenever you want to give them a try.
    Your crumble looks beautiful!

  36. Shari said,

    September 19, 2008 @ 11:59 am

    I just put that book on hold at the library! This dessert sounds delicious and all grown-up. I love the start of your list…could it get to 100 like the Omnivore list?? hint…hint Beautiful photos!

  37. Y said,

    September 19, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

    Shari, what a great idea.. there SHOULD be a 100 pastry/desserts list! πŸ˜€ The list in my head of to-bakes is probably close to that.

  38. Lisa said,

    September 21, 2008 @ 10:35 am

    Portuguese tarts are on my list of things to bake soon too. I have a few recipes but I don’t know how authentic they are, and I think they would require a test-bake. I think one was Donna Hay and the other was Bill Granger. Maybe you could test one and I could do the other? Or lets all go to Petersham! haha
    I *really* like the idea of a 100 desserts list.

  39. Lael said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 8:07 am

    I am always up for new flavor combinations, and so when I heard about apples and cheese together a while ago I started snacking on apple slices and sharp cheddar occasionally. It’s delicious, and I’ve had an apple/cheddar dessert on my to-do list. This might just be what I needed to get it going! The balsamic reduction sounds delicious with it as well. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be coming back to your blog often; it’s a great one.

  40. LuΓ­s Pontes said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

    I think you are talking about “pastΓ©is de nata” when you say “portuguese tarts”.

    I’ll try to translate the original recipe for you, and you promise not to laught a lot for my terrible english. πŸ™‚

    LuΓ­s Pontes – Portugal

  41. dessert girl said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 11:30 am

    I love apple crumble, but I don’t know how I feel about the cheese! I don’t think it could ever replace the classic vanilla ice cream version, but I’m willing to give it a try!

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