Know someone who doesn't like crumble? Me neither. It's a brilliant creation, quick and easy to construct and fundamentally foolproof: over-cooked the apples...great, everyone loves a mushy apple! Burnt the topping...fine, scrape off the burnt bits! So we decided to just go and make it even easier by using breadcrumbs and desiccated coconut instead of the traditional butter and flour combination. This means less faff and a really crunchy, flavoursome topping. Plus, we super-charge our apples with brown sugar and a little salt so deliciousness is guaranteed.
75g dark brown or muscovado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg, grated
1 kg mixed apples such as Bramleys, Coxs, Russets, cored, peeled and sliced into eighths
For the topping
75g panko or dried breadcrumbs
100g mixed seeds
50g desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 200C/fan180C/gas 6. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and once melted, pour off 50g and put aside for later. Add the sugar and spices to the pan along with a big pinch of salt and place over a medium-low heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into the butter and begins to smell caramel-y. Stir in the apples and once they're nicely coated, transfer to a 1.4 litre oven-proof dish, add a splash of water and place in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the apples are beginning to soften.
Meanwhile, place the topping ingredients in a bowl and pour over the rest of the melted butter along with a pinch of salt, then stir well to coat. Once the apples have had their time alone in the oven, give them another stir, then sprinkle over the topping and return to the oven for 7-10 minutes until golden brown, giving the topping a gentle ruffle halfway through. Leave to cool slightly for a few minutes, then serve with crème fraiche, ice cream or custard.