Beer and dessert can be a superb match – and it’s not just me that thinks so. Even Shakespeare wrote about ‘cakes and ale’ in the same sentence and if that’s not a recommendation for drinking a pint with your pud, then I don’t know what is. (Well OK, a half-pint – there has to be enough space left for cake after all). Anyway – this recipe is designed with winter in mind, but a South African winter – one where there are still days when you can sit outside and braai your dinner (and dessert). Of course, this crumble doesn’t have to be cooked on coals, but it makes for a nice gimmick (and it means you can still have your cake and eat it, even when loadshedding shifts up a notch.
5 apples – I prefer Granny Smiths
100ml sweet, dark beer (Belgian dubbel or German bock/double bock works best – we used Urbock and it was superb). Here’s an insider tip – you might like to have some more of said beer chilled so you can drink it with your pud once it’s ready…
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups cake flour
3 cups brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup melted butter
Ice cream to serve
If using an oven, preheat to 250°C. If you’re loadshedding or just fancy trying this on the braai, get your coals ready but not too soon – you’re going to need a good amount of heat (and a braai with a lid).
Peel the apples and cut them into slices about half a centimetre thick.
Add the apples slices to a hot pan. Add the beer and a teaspoon of cinnamon. The beer should just cover the apples – you’re allowed to drink whatever you don’t cook with but don’t scrimp. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the beer reduces and starts to turn into a wonderful beery gloopy sauce
Pour your caramelised apply-beery mixture into an oven/braai-proof dish (if you’re looking to cut down on washing up, get some of those foil containers of the ilk they use in Chinese takeaways – see pic below).
For the topping, add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder to a large bowl. Mix using a fork. Slowly add the butter and continue to stir lightly. Once the ingredients are fairly well blended together, start to crumble the mixture by hand – it should start to look and feel like breadcrumbs. Once it does, tip it on top of the apples so it is no more than 2cm high – any more and it won’t all cook.
If using an oven, bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy. If you’re braaiing, ensure the coals are good and hot and heap them to one side of the braai. Place the crumble on the braai grid, on the opposite side to the coals – you’re looking for indirect heat otherwise your lovely beery apples will just burn. Cook over this indirect heat for 40-45 minutes, with the braai lid on.
Let the crumble stand for five minutes or so and serve warm with vanilla ice cream – or beer ice cream if you’ve got time to make some (recipe coming soon!). Pair with the beer you used in the dish – I found this crumble, paired with a glass of Urbock, to be one of the finest pairings I’ve come across for a long time.