Autumn is always a strange time of year. The weather lurches from warm autumn sunshine to wet winter winds in what seems like the blink of an eye. The leaves turn to a golden brown and deliver a satisfying crunch under foot as we try to make the most of what’s left of the summer sun. But there is an inevitability about the seasons that we just can’t ignore and we know that these months are the start of a gentle transition into the colder, darker, wetter days of winter ahead.
New season, new flavours
Fall in America is accompanied by hot cider and pumpkin pies as the last of the summer harvest is turned into delicious, sweet, spicy desserts. In the UK, mulled wine, hot toddies and sloe gins begin to make an appearance alongside comfort food that is made to keep your soul and spirit warm for the cold months ahead. Think natural blackberry and apple crumble with sweet, rich custard drizzled lovingly from above. In Barcelona, the sun still shines in a blue sky but the weather cools and the mood changes to something softer and gentler. The locals take their city back from the tourists and enjoy the autumn colours from their front row seats on the terrazas and bars, dipping freshly made churros into hot chocolate so thick you can stand your spoon up in it. Every country and region has its own autumn traditions.
Sloe-ly does it…
Last year, we introduced you to our friends Hamish and Jenny, who put aside time every autumn to forage in the English countryside for ripe sloe berries to star in their amazing home made sloe gin. If that sounds like something you’d like to try, you might want to check out this little interview we did with them last year, in which they reveal their most closely guarded secrets for making a truly delicious sloe gin. This warming, sweet, aromatic drink is a perfect drink to beat the chill on those cold days. It’s rich, fruity warmth is ideal for a hip flask to accompany your outdoor activities. But it’s also a perfect aperitif before a hearty lunch and is equally at home as an after dinner drink. The perfect end to a convivial dinner.
Or is it?
A taste of autumn with a sloe gin twist
We think that we may have found something even more delicious for you to try. We’ve searched high and low for a great Autumn recipe that will warm you up from the inside out. We think this rich, boozy crumble, packed with ripe Autumn fruits is the ultimate comfort food. The cast of ingredients includes sweet juicy apples, sharp, bright blackberries and the secret ingredient – loads of rich, delicious, boozy sloe gin. This classic autumn dish has a depth and complexity that sets it apart from the rest. Plus, it’s packed with toasted pistachios and almonds for the crunchiest topping ever to offer a nice contrast to the juicy softness of the fruit that lies within.
We think this sloe gin apple and blackberry crumble is the perfect way to end a long, lazy, Sunday lunch. One of those lunches when nobody is in a hurry to leave because inside is so much more appealing than outside. Especially if you’re in a cozy pub, drying out your feet in front of a roaring fire in the company of good friends.
So, here’s a simple, easy to make recipe that will warm you up on those gorgeous autumn days and warm your heart from the inside.
Sloe gin apple and blackberry crumble recipe
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 900g apples (Bramley apples are ideal)
- 100g demerara sugar
- 250g blackberries
- 5 tbsp sloe gin
For the crumble topping:
- Preheat oven to 180c and fill large bowl with water
- Add the lemon juice
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into chunks
- Add them to the water as you cut them to prevent discoloring
- Drain and transfer to a baking dish (approx 2.3l)
- Toss with the sugar and bake for 20 mins (until tender)
- Mix together the flour and the oats and use your fingers to rub in the butter
- Stir in the sugar, spices and pistachios and put aside
- Add the blackberries and sloe gin to the baking dish and toss to distribute
- Scatter over the crumble topping and pack down gently before topping with almonds
- Return to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the topping is golden and the fruit juices bubble up around the edges
- Remove from oven and serve with generous servings of custard
- Pull your chair closer to the fire, pour yourself a glass of sloe gin and enjoy…
Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)
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