Apple crumble cake (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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Lord Derby cooking apples. Images by Kathryn Hawkins

A couple of weeks ago, I picked a bumper crop of cooking apples from the old tree in my garden. I have no idea how old the tree is, but it’s gnarly and interesting to look at, and each year produces large, bright green apples with a slightly tart taste. The variety is called Lord Derby. The apples keep their texture when cooked and are perfect for thinly slicing and layering in a deep filled apple pie or peeled and quartered for a tart tatin. Kept in the cool and dark, this variety of apple stores for about 3 months – until about Christmas-time.

This is one of my favourite apple recipes. It keeps well if you can leave it alone, and becomes more cake-like as time goes on. Serve the cake hot or cold, for pudding or with coffee. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Serves: 10-12

  • 225g vegan margarine ( or lightly salted butter if you prefer),  softened
  • 165g + 2 tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 350g gluten-free plain flour (such as Dove’s Farm)
  • 10g gluten-free baking powder (such as Dr Oetker)
  • 500g cooking apples
  • Juice 1 small lemon
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g thick milled oats
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven, gas mark 4). Grease and line a 5cm deep x 23cm round, cake tin. In a mixing bowl, beat the margarine with 165g sugar and the vanilla, until well blended and creamy.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder on top and bring together to form a crumbly mixture. Press about two-thirds evenly into the base of the tin to make a smooth, thick base. Prick all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden and slightly crusty.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the lemon juice in a bowl. Thinly peel and core the apples, and chop into small pieces. Toss in the lemon juice to help prevent browning. Drain away the excess juice and toss in the cornflour and cinnamon.
  4. Spread the apple evenly over the baked base. Mix the oats into the remaining crumble and spoon on top, making sure all the apple is covered. Sprinkle over the remaining Demerara sugar. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.

    Step_by_step_preparation_for_apple_crumble_cake
    Preparation of apple crumble cake. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

If you want to serve the cake as a pudding, leave it to firm up for 15 minutes before removing from the tin; otherwise leave it to cool completely and enjoy cold. Dust lightly with icing sugar just before serving. Enjoy!

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Homemade gluten-free apple crumble cake. Images by Kathryn Hawkins

 

 

My harvest festival

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Today’s harvest of homegrown apples, pears and raspberries. Image by Kathryn Hawkins

Today has been my first opportunity to get into the garden for a while. Work has got in the way, and the weather has been pretty grim, so I seized the opportunity this morning and spent a couple of hours getting some fresh air and taking stock.

I was delighted to pick a bowl of late ripening raspberries – a delicious breakfast treat for tomorrow morning. I had expected that the birds would have been tucking in during my absence, but they are obviously feeding elsewhere.

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Autumn Bliss – late fruiting raspberries. Image by Kathryn Hawkins

We have had an unusually mild September, and it’s really only been these past couple of weeks that the temperature has gone down a few degrees, but we have yet to have a frost. As a result, my runner beans flowered again, and tonight I will be enjoying freshly picked, homegrown beans with my supper – a first for me at this time of year.

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Second time around, October runner beans. Image by Kathryn Hawkins

Scotland has an ideal climate for growing potatoes, and the Pink Fir variety I planted this year have done very well. Not usually a high yielding potato, I have been pleasantly surprised by how many potatoes the plants have produced so far, and I have plenty more to dig. Their cream coloured flesh is flaky and dry, and the pink, knobbly skin adds nuttiness to the flavour; they boil and roast well.

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Trug of freshly dug pink fir potatoes. Image by Kathryn Hawkins

Last year, I didn’t get the chance to try any eating apples from the garden. One of my trees produced no fruit at all, and the apples from on other tree were enjoyed by the birds before I got a look in! I have victory over my feathered friends this year, although I did leave a few of the really wee ones on the tree for the colder weather, when the birds do finally get peckish. I am looking forward to trying the apples; they are quite small but look very enticing with their shiny scarlet blush.

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Cute little eating apples – variety unknown. Image by Kathryn Hawkins