Good Food Apple and Toffee Crumble Tart

Magazine: Good Food
Issue: October 2013
Recipe Rating:
Difficulty Rating:


This is no ordinary apple crumble. In fact it is no ordinary apple and toffee crumble - the recipe hails from two Michelin stars pub chef Tom Kerridge and was featured in the October issue of BBC Good Food magazine, itself a reproduction of the same recipe taken from Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food book.

So this is indeed a high church apple crumble with impeccable credentials, but how easy is it to make, and more importantly, how does it taste? It has to be said that (and this will probably come as no great surprise) the recipe is complex and time consuming, and I would suspect there as a hobbyist project for those with a spare rainy Sunday afternoon. And the taste? There's no denying it's a terrific treat but the toffee sets hard and is closer to free tooth extraction than a culinary delight.

The recipe cannot be undertaken without a great deal of time being available to the would-be chef. I did have the aforementioned rainy Sunday afternoon, so the stage was set. First challenge is the toffee and a heavy based pan is required. I selected my oldest saucepan fearing the sticky remains would be terminal, although after soaking for an hour it was fine. The toffee itself had to be boiled to exactly 140 degrees so I had to buy a sugar thermometer.

The pastry was the next job and I used my food mixer to automate the process, then put the dough in the fridge to chill for an hour or so. Due to other weekend commitments, it was closer to two hours before I returned.

The filling was one of the easier tasks initially and the Bramley apples turned to pulp right on cue. Unfortunately I then came unstuck - the remaining apples only just fit into the saucepan and because the high-sided pan was so full, those apple pieces at the top steadfastly refused to cook. The intention was to cook the apple to the point where they were soft but still retaining a little bite and that was impossible to achieve consistently in the pan. I switched the contents to my new sauté pan - a master-stroke and the apples cooked evenly from that point but it took substantially longer than the magazine suggested, partially because of the transfer to a cold pan.

A food processor is the preference for assembling the crumble but (and this sounds ridiculous) I forgot I owned a food processor so I rubbed the crumble together by hand. Not a good idea as it transpired since the result was a little clumpy. The cooking of the crumble wasn't straightforward either - the crumble needs stirring every five minutes to prevent uneven cooking but - and this is probably a shortcoming of my oven - it wasn't wholly successful and some of the crumble was a deeper brown than the other.

Rolling the pastry was a complete drama. The dough was rock hard when removed from the fridge (which it should be right?) but as soon as I tried to roll it out, it fractured and fell apart. I couldn't roll it successfully, so had to improvised. I was able to roll out small sections of pastry - a few square centimetres - and using a patchwork quilt strategy was able to line my tart tin.

Once the tart was finally cooked through, I looked around at the debris in the kitchen. There was twice as much toffee as required and twice as much pastry. I suspect the quantity of Cox's apples could have been reduced by 25%, although it was just about possible to pile all the apples into the pastry case.

The crumble is photographed whole - as is the one in the magazine, and I think I know why. It is practically impossible to slice due to the combination of toffee and crumble. In addition, the crumble won't travel which was a disappointment since I wanted to share at work.

Changes from Published Recipe

I wanted to be authentic and therefore I kept to the letter of the recipe.