Plum and Apple Crumble

September 10, 2013

Apples and Plums

Here I am, typing to you from England where everything is so very British and familiar. Buildings are ancient. It rains, then shines, then rains again. Everyone understands everything I say (at least I think they do, if not, then they’re too Britishly polite to tell me my accent has been mangled). I’m home and it feels pretty wonderful. The only thing missing is my mister, but I’m working hard on changing that and getting him over here quick-sharp.

On my third day back in the UK, I drove out to Wasing Park in Berkshire with my best friend and her dude, to see where they’ll be getting married next summer. Afterwards we three stopped into her future in-laws for coffee and cake and left with a heavy bag of cooking apples and a smaller bag of plums, picked that morning from their garden.

Plum & Apple Crumble

I was slightly giddy at this gift and knew pretty quickly that a crumble was in the making. Plum and apple crumble! It just seems brilliantly British. I love the lack of fuss in a crumble and how it becomes a jumble of soft warm fruit, crunchy topping, and cold-but-rapidly-melting ice cream.

I didn’t expect to have an opportunity to bake nearly so soon after moving (ahem, please excuse the iPhone photos) and I spent a lovely hour peeling, coring, and chopping apples, then softening them over heat with the plums under a generous dusting of sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest.

As the crumble baked, I tap-tap-tapped away at my keyboard but soon enough I was completely distracted by the smell and by the time my friends were home from work, the crumble was cooling and I’d already eaten a bowlful which soon became three helpings. Let’s just call it dinner and leave it at that.

Apple and Plum Crumble

Plum and Apple Crumble
adapted very slightly from Good Housekeeping

I found this to be a delightful crumble – the topping is pretty substantial yet light, with a lovely crunchy sweetness giving way to a really perfume-y mix of plums and soft cinnamon-scented apples. Do taste your apples and plums before adding sugar. My crumble was quite tart, which I liked with the sweet topping and is magnificent with the addition of a scoop of ice cream, but you may prefer to add more sugar.


  • 6 large plums (or 10-12 little ones)
  • 3 Bramley apples (or other cooking apples), about 500g (1lb 2oz)
  • 50g (2oz) light brown soft or caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the crumble topping:

  • 175g (6oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 125g (4oz) butter (or non-dairy alternative), chilled and cut into cubes
  • 50g (2oz) rolled oats
  • 75g (3oz) demerara sugar


  1. Preheat oven 200°C/400F. Halve and stone the plums, then roughly chop and put into a large pan. Peel and core the apples, roughly chop, and add to the pan with the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and 5 tbsp water. Cover and heat gently until apples are softening, about 5 mins.
  2. Empty fruit into a shallow, ovenproof serving dish. Set aside.
  3. To make the topping, put the flour into a bowl and rub in the sunflower spread (or butter) with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine rubble. Mix in the oats and demerara sugar, then scatter the topping over the fruit.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Try to serve it immediately (it can bake as you eat dinner) or re-heat it 10-15 mins before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream (optional).

Spiced Ginger Cake

October 17, 2012

Downton Abbey marathons | Chilly-sunny walks | New desk chair | Red leaves | Yellow leaves | Really dark chocolate | Amazing books | Spiced ginger cake.

All good things which have been happening in these parts recently. (Pretty wild, aren’t I?)

This cake was my first foray into baking with almond flour and I have to say, I might be smitten.

The result is a more dense cake which means a little slice goes a long way. It’s super filling and when you think about the natural fat and caloric values of almonds compared to flour that makes sense but don’t be put off by that – it’s good, cholesterol-reducing fat, as opposed to the empty calories of white flour.

The hint of almond flavour goes wonderfully with all the warm spices in this cake: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and of course ginger. I can think of no better way to spend a blustery weekend afternoon than baking {and eating} it. Enjoy!

Spiced Ginger Cake
adapted from Roost


  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and lightly whisk together. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Using a rubber spatula mix wet and dry ingredients until combined.
  2. Pour into a greased 9×5″ loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top begins to get too brown lay a sheet of foil on top to prevent burning (I did this at about 30 mins in). Allow to cool for a whole hour before removing from the pan.

Almond Butter Cookies

October 8, 2012

Well, it happened. Autumn came and with it some beautiful sunny, warm days full of orange, yellow, and bright red leaves. And then all of a sudden it was too cold for my thin trench and a scarf was appreciated. The radiators came on at home and I started wearing thick socks around the house (not long til this).

And just like that, I was ready to get back in the kitchen, ready to feel the heat from the oven and to pad around in those thick socks waiting for something sweet to have with a cup of tea.

The texture of these cookies is light as a feather – almost papery – but the flavour is all cookie. Deep almond, richly dark sugar, a hint of vanilla, and chunks of intense cocoa-y chocolate.

Certainly you shouldn’t really think of them as cookies, at least not if you’re used to the floury kind. They’re incredibly delicate – beware of heavy, grabby hands – and yes, crumbly, but their rich, deep taste pays off in spades. They’re quite addictive, in fact.

Almond Butter Cookies
adapted from Nicole Spiridakis and inspired by London Bakes


  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup organic dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/150C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (or grease) and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir the almond butter, dark brown sugar, and white sugar together until well combined.
  4. Add egg, baking soda, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips/chunks.
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out small, walnut-sized amounts of dough and roll them in your hands to form a ball. Place on the cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about a dozen cookies.