Toffee Apple Crumble with Homemade Custard – Recipe

Tomorrow night is Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, or Fireworks Night- whichever. All I know is it's the time of bonfires, fireworks (no sh*t, Sherlock), bangers and mash with fried onions and toffee apples. So, I made my family a three-course dinner for the 'eve' (since tomorrow is a Monday and there won't be time after work to do a three course dinner). I made pumpkin soup, cracked black pepper beef bangers (made by my good friend J Sainsbury) with carrot, swede and parsnip puree and sesame fried onions, and for dessert, my ultra-seasonal take on an autumnal English pudding- a toffee apple crumble.

See how I made this below!

Ingredients for Crumble Topping:
- 1 Cup rolled oats
- 1 1/5 Cups plain flour
- 1/2 Block (about 4oz) Cold unsalted butter, cubed/ chopped
- 3tbsp Demerara sugar
- 1tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt

Ingredients for Toffee Sauce:
- 1/4 Cup dark muscavado sugar
- 2tbsp Golden syrup
- 1tbsp Black treacle
- 1tbsp Salted (trust me) butter
- 2tbsp Milk

Ingredients for Filling:
- 3 Cooking (bramley) apples
- 1tbsp Plain flour
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 2tbsp Golden caster sugar
- 1/2 Packet mini fudge chunks (optional- I just happened to have these floating around and it seemed like a good idea)

Ingredients for Custard:
 - 300ml Milk
- 200ml Cream (I used Elmlea light hoping to make a dent in the calorie count...)
- 2 Whole eggs (Yes, you don't have to use just yolks here!)
- 2 Level tbsp cornflour
- 2tbsp Caster sugar
- 2tsp Vanilla bean paste (or just the extract- I like seeing the little seedy things in custard)


1) Preheat that oven! Set it to 180 degrees C.

2) Grease a large dish- I used the butter wrapper since I already had half a block to use up for this recipe.

3) Get stuck in with the crumble: rub the butter in with the oats and flour with the tips of your fingers until it's crumbly, but chunkily so (*then* you can toss in the sugar, spices and salt):

 4) Make the toffee: put all the ingredients for the toffee in a small pan and bring to a gentle boil. You can swirl it in the pan occasionally, but don't stir it to avoid it crystallising and going gritty. Boil it for about two minutes, then take it off the heat to stop it from burning.


5) Peel, core and chop the apples to layer in your dish. You want them with a bit of bite, but not so thick that they won't cook properly. Every so often when layering, sprinkle with lemon juice to stop the apples from going brown, and sprinkle the flour and sugar (the flour will help thicken the toffee when you put it all in the oven, because the lemon and apple juices will thin it out to begin with). Don't be tempted to add more sugar- we have a loooot of toffee to pour on in a bit.

 6) (Please excuse sporadic photo formatting, Blogger was being difficult). Evenly pour over your toffee, and sprinkle the fudge chunks over. You'll be forgiven if a chunk or two never makes it to the crumble...

7) Sprinkle your crumble over, and put it in the oven! Bake for about 45 minutes. It'll be bubbling very invitingly.

Now you're ready to make the custard! You may want to keep your crumble in the turned-off oven to keep it hot. I just took mine out because I had to make the rest of dinner (I made everything but the custard a few hours in advance).

To make the custard:

1) Whisk the two eggs and the cornflour together thoroughly.

2) Boil the milk and cream, sugar and vanilla- watch out! It may take a while to get bubbling, but it'll boil over very suddenly if you're not on the ball.

When it bubbles like this, watch it like a hawk.

 3) As soon as it starts a roiling boil (when it begins to puff up like it's going to boil over), pour it into your beaten eggs and WHISK LIKE FURY to help avoid scrambling the eggs.

4) This is partially awesome, partially embarrassing... step 4 was meant to be 'put mixture back into a pan and stir over a low heat until thickened', but it turns out that my cream mixture was so hot it 'custardified' almost as soon as it was whisked into the eggs. I could say it was all part of my masterful plan, but I'd be lying. So if pouring the cream into the egg mixture works for you, great! If not: pour back into the pan and stir over a low heat to thicken. It should work again though- I think it was the egg whites (see my note at the end of the blog).

5) Pour into a jug and cover it with clingfilm so that the clingfilm is touching the surface to stop a skin from forming whilst you retrieve your crumble and dish it out.



About using whole eggs in a custard: usually the traditional custard uses egg yolks and cream, but I cut the cream content and made a lighter mixture with cream (or rather, Elmlea) and milk, and used two whole eggs instead of four egg yolks (I think that'd be the correct amount- I could be wrong), without really knowing if it'd work. I just didn't want to have to freeze yet more egg whites, but I didn't want to be wasteful throw them away either.

Well, it worked- far better than I could have ever hoped for, in fact. And the egg whites seem to help thicken and set the custard faster, as shown in the almost non-existent step 4 from 3. It was just as silky and creamy as a full-cream yolk-only custard, so I'd call that a success.

Want to see the starter and main courses? I'm afraid I didn't really make an effort with presentation, though (mind you, crumble isn't exactly easy to present in a Michelin star way, either).

Pumpkin soup with nutmeg
Beef bangers with carrot, swede and parsnip puree, sesame fried onions (and served with plenty of gravy and mustard)


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