So we had our Thanksgiving over here in the Great North a few weeks ago. I have been so caught up some recent baking adventures this has taken some time to write! Oops.
Up until last year I can’t really say I have much interest in cranberries. I am aware of its existence but my experience with it never gone past the “canned jellied cranberry sauce” phrase. When I made cranberry mousse last year that was my first encounter with fresh cranberries. Did you know they float on the water? And that they flood the bogs so they’d float for the harvest? You probably knew, but that was news to me. I was super intrigued. So when I heard about a cranberry festival happening this year I was all up for it, i thought I was gonna witness some water-cranberry harvesting first hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the scene depicted in the photo above. I was dying to see it, a field of floating cranberries, how amazing would that be??!
What was at the festival was stalls after stalls selling cranberry things. Amongst them, a huge stand selling cranberries in 1, 2 or 5lb bags. I didn’t even know we produce cranberries locally! That was how severely uninformed I was on all matters about cranberries. Anyway to make up for this, I bought 5 lbs of it. I froze the majority of it and left some to make cranberry sauce for my Thanksgiving dinner, and this crumble for dessert.
Since there was already too much to do prepping for a dinner (only for three people, not that it meant less work!), I wanted an easy but tasty dessert. So a crumble seems like the best idea.
It is ridiculously easy to make, just time consuming prep before hand. You can pre-make this ahead of time and just warm it up before serving. Which was perfect for a thanksgiving dinner because you want to make as much ahead of time as possible so save the oven for the bird.
For this very simple dish, I have learned a brand new thing.
It is about nutmeg.
Previously in any baking/cooking that I do, I usually just skipped nutmeg if the recipe calls for it. I, like most people, have a jar of ground nutmeg at home that doesn’t smell like anything. I thought to myself, this year is the year to add fresh nutmeg into my spice rack. It is time I experience fresh ground nutmeg and see what the fuss is all about. I looked online and researched it so I know how to deal with a whole nutmeg. According to the internet, they come shelled, so you would need to de-shell first, then ground the nut for magical aroma.
I thought I was so smart. So once the nutmeg was cracked I picked it up and try to peel off whatever “shell” is still on the nut. Imagine my surprise when I found out whatever resembles “shell” is far too thin to peel. It is when I realized the nutmeg we got in the shops have already been de-shelled. Desperately trying to confirm this information I googled about the nutmeg plant hoping to find out what the shell look like.
Do you know what nutmeg look like?? I sure didn’t.
I don’t even know what is happening in this fruit!!! Apparently the fruit is edible and is very fragrant. The red alien bits called Mace are also edible, and is used if you want a milder nutmeg flavour. And pictured is the shelled nutmeg bits. Mine are definitely de-shelled. My mind was blown. What even is this plant! (tropical, hence the weirdness)
Anyway. Let’s get back to the matter at hand. Fresh ground nutmeg is amazing. There is zero point to use pre-ground nutmeg. If you don’t have fresh nutmeg you might as well just skip it because the flavour is irreplaceable in my opinion. I am in love with it now. The alien fruit has got me. I have been converted.
Recipe makes crumble in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish
For the filling:
~3 Lbs of Apples*, Peeled, cored and sliced
~200g Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
100g Granulated Sugar
50g Brown Sugar
32g All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Orange zest
*I used a mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, but any baking apple would do. You want ones that will hold its shape.
**Also you can adjust the amount of apples and cranberries to your liking.
For the Crumble
65g Brown Sugar
55g Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Salt
113g Butter, melted
125g All Purpose Flour
1. Preheat your oven to 190°c/375°f. Grab your baking pan and coat the bottom and the sides with butter.
2. Mix up the ingredient of the crumble, add the melted butter, give it a good mix and set it into the fridge to chill for a while.
2. Mix the dry ingredients except for the fruits in a bowl.
3. Toss in your sliced apples to coat, as evenly as you can. Add in the cranberries, do the same thing. You will have to get your hands dirty, this is a hand job.
4. Once that is done, throw them all into your baking dish. Take the now chilled and probably quite hard crumble out of the fridge. Break up the crumble in your hand and sprinkle it on top of your fruits.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruits are nice and soft and bubbly.