If you're someone who gets the magic of salty-sweet in desserts then you're in for a treat with this apple crumble recipe. I grew up in Manila with a lot of sweets mixed with cheese like ensaymada (a Filipino brioche like bread topped with butter, sugar and cheese), mamon (a chiffon cupcake that can be topped with cheese), puto (steamed rice cakes) and bibingka (a rice cake traditionally cooked in claypots lined with banana leaves). So when I was experimenting on apple crumble this week, the tasty leap to cheese was not a big one.
It's not just Filipinos that love to have sweets with cheese. The North Americans also have their beloved apple pie with a slice of cheese. I suspect this mixing of cheese with sweets is probably an extension of the European tradition of having their desserts with cheese.
It may seem like a strange combination but don't knock it till you've tried it.
4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8 lengthwise segments, then cut each 1/8 segment into 4 crosswise pieces; I use a mix of granny smith, royal gala or jazz apples
1/4 c maple syrup
80 g chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 c plain flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon, 1/2 t for the apples and 1/2 t for the crumble
1/4 c chopped walnuts
pinch of fine sea salt
cheddar cheese or any cheese you like, for grating
Preheat oven to 190 °C. Lightly grease oven-proof pan with a capacity of 1.5 litres.
Mix apples, cinnamon and maple syrup together then transfer to greased baking dish.
Place flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and walnuts into a large bowl and combine well with a whisk. Add butter and rub it into flour mixture with your finger until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Place in freezer for 10 mins or in refrigerator until you're ready to bake.
Sprinkle crumble mixture on top of apples. Do not press down the crumble mixture as this will make your crumble too hard when it cooks. Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes, until crumble is golden, apples are soft and syrup is bubbling through the surface. Place the dish in the middle rack, making sure it's not too close to the heating element as this can burn the crumble before your apples are cooked.
If you use a deep dish, the crumble can end up browning before your apples are cooked. In this case, once your crumble is golden brown, cover lightly with aluminium foil until apples are soft.
Grate cheese over crumble just before serving.
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