By the way, I have no idea what’s in this particular whipped topping. Except happiness. Not to mention sunshine. Which means that I know everything I need to know.
I do know a little somethin’ about this crumb cake.
It’s like this, now.
An all crumb crust. Baked and cooled.
Topped with fruit. Please excuse the cinnamon & sugar on those apples. Shameless hooligans.
Then go on and pour the custard on top.
Plus more crumb. Chilled. This time, on top. Everybody in!
Fall’s darling, apples, do tend to get a little ho-hum right about now. After all, by now, we’ve really done it all.
This time, it’s apples like you’ve never seen ’em. The nutty crust is chewy & dense, set off perfectly with just the right vanilla custard, then topped with some crumble. You can make the crust mixture days ahead of time — and even the crust. Bake it, then keep it chilled. When you’re ready, all that’s left to do is to whip up the simple custard, peel, core & slice the apples, assemble, and bake. Even the whole tart will keep, chilled, for a couple days.
I baked it in a 9 inch square pan, but you can use a springform pan, a pie plate, or a round cake pan. Your call.
Or – ditch the apples altogether. I’m open to suggestion. Always. What would you put in their place? Pears would be nice — maybe poached whole and sliced in half. Or keep the apples and add some cranberries. And maybe some frozen blueberries? Can you say, ‘Hello Thanksgiving’?
|Apple Crumb Cake|
- 1/3 cup toasted or raw pecans (or nut of your choice)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (any hue will do)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and kept cold
- 3/4 cup milk (cream is best, low-fat milk is okay)
- 4 firm baking apples (like Empire or Granny Smith), peeled, cored & sliced very thin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bird’s custard powder (or substitute same amount cornstarch)
- 1 extra-large egg, plus 1 extra-large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch square or round pan, and set it aside.
- To make the crust, pulse the pecans in the bowl of a food processor until they are ground to medium-fine. Add the flour, xanthan gum, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the butter to the ground nuts. Pulse a few times in the food processor until just combined. Add 3 tablespoons milk to the mixture, and pulse another couple times.
- Transfer all but 1 cup of the crust mixture to the prepared pan and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set, about 16 to 18 minutes. Allow to cool completely. To speed things up, cool for about 10 minutes and then place the pan in the freezer. The crust can be made a few days ahead to make quick work of this recipe. Just cover and store it in the refrigerator, along with the reserved crumb mixture.
- While the crust is cooling, make the custard. In a medium-sized bowl, place the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, custard powder (or cornstarch), 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk, vanilla and the remaining milk, and whisk until smooth.
- Scatter the sliced apples evenly over the cooled crust, and pour the custard evenly over the fruit. Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup crumb mixture evenly over the top. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the custard is set and the top lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before serving.
To eliminate the nuts entirely, you’ll need something else that adds bulk. Gluten-free rolled oats might work well.