Being out in the country, with a chill in the autumn air, surrounded by golden leaves and apple and cabbage farms, means one thing: comfort food. And with all of the lovely ripe apples around, an apple crumble is in order. I decided to add roasted pecans for extra comfort, and the key with this recipe is to caramelize the apples before baking. The result is a slightly tart apple crumble with the sweetness and stickiness of caramelized apples. At the farm, we served the crumble with an Afrikaans milk pudding, but regular whipping cream or ice cream is a perfect match for this.
Caramelized Apple & Pecan Crumble
For the filling:
3/4 cup pecans, roasted
6 apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
For the topping:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or allspice
10 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
Preheat oven to 375F. Peel, core and dice apples. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the apples in a bowl and add sugar and salt. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add apples and lower heat. Allow the apples to caramelize for at least 25 mins. They should smell amazing and start to brown and soften. In the meantime, lay pecans on a baking tray in a single layer and roast in oven for 10-15 mins, watching closely so they don’t burn. (If you like you can coat them in butter and a sprinkling of salt before putting them in the oven.)
To make the topping, mix flour, sugar, spices and salt together in a bowl. Add chilled diced butter and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly.
Scrape caramelized apples (you can squeeze more lemon juice into the pan to get any caramelized goodness that is left sticking to the bottom) into a baking dish. Cover the apples with the roasted pecans and the crumble topping and bake for 45-50 mins, or until topping is crisp and golden.