We had an idyllic day trip to an apple picking farm in north Kent last week with Miss R's nursery. Amidst all the days and days of rain that we've had lately, the nursery somehow picked the one sunny day in the whole week and, while wellies and waterproofs were indeed necessary due to the sheer amount of large muddy puddles, we didn't get rained on, Miss R only needed her clothes changed once AND we managed a picnic outside.
It's such a joy to go to these things with a child who actually eats fruit! Mr R still won't touch any fruit at all, unless it's served in a cake or crumble form, and to see Miss R tucking into an apple that she'd picked straight off the tree made me feel very happy.
Of course we picked far more apples than we really needed, as well as pears and a butternut squash, but I managed to steer her towards the Bramleys so that we could use most of them in a crumble.
I decided to experiment with a sugar-free crumble topping (free of refined sugar). To my taste buds this wasn't quite sweet enough, but for once the children didn't seem to notice any difference at all and polished off their portions without a grumble. It also has the added benefit of the protein, vitamins and minerals that come with the pecans, as well as the goodness from the apples.
6-7 medium sized Bramley apples
2 tbsp maple syrup
180g plain or wholemeal flour
150g butter, at room temperature
100g pecan nuts, ground or finely chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Peel and chop the apples. Place in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water and gently heat with the lid on until soft. Mash slightly. You can skip this stage and put the whole pieces of apple in the dish you're going to bake the crumble in if you prefer - but the larger pieces put R off so this works better for us.
Meanwhile in a mixing bowl rub together the flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then stir through the pecans.
Place the apples in a large ovenproof dish. Drizzle over the maple syrup and stir in. Cover with the crumble topping and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-45 minutes.