This is quite a popular way of presenting apple “crumble” in France. It’s lighter than the traditional British crumble, and looks a bit more sophisticated too. You can make it with whatever fruit you fancy, e.g. pears, plums, apricots … but if you use anything too juicy (e.g. rhubarb, blackcurrants) you may end up with soggy pastry. To avoid this, scatter a tablespoon or so of semolina or ground almonds over the pastry before adding the fruit. It is best served warm, with crème anglaise (not Bird’s custard please, this is France!), cream, or ice cream.
6 eating apples or other fruit of your choice
shortcrust pastry (bought is OK!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
cinnamon or other spice to taste
1 tbsp semolina or ground almonds (optional)
75 g flour
60 g butter
60 g demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a 23-cm loose-based tart tin. Sprinkle over semolina or almonds if required. Peel and core the apples and slice them thinly, then toss them in the lemon juice and cinnamon. Scatter them over the pastry; no need to arrange them nicely as you do for a traditional French apple tart. There should be a very generous covering — they will shrink as they cook. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut up the butter and rub it into the flour, then stir in sugar and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and return the tart to the oven for another 20 minutes, till the crumble is brown and crispy. Cool slightly before serving.