Toffee apple crumble

A British crumble with a toffee twist from Konditor and Cook

Us Brits can be a bit blasé about our apples. In Germany, the fruit is so revered they’ve a whole society for it: the German Pomological Society. The Americans, too, take pride in their pomaces, with several societies and even a university degree course dedicated to their pursuit.

Borough Market’s Apple Day aside, here we are, blessed with what horticulturalists have claimed almost the best possible conditions for their cultivation, and commercial suppliers are still importing apples from as far away as Chile and New Zealand. There is, however, one area in which Britain consistently excels itself: the transformation of the humble bramley apple, into a heart-warming array of puds.

Apple sponge. Apple turnover. Apple charlotte. Toffee apples. Apple crumble, cobbler, eve’s pudding and tarts. If it’s sweet and involves some combination of butter, flour and sugar, the chances are we’ve tried it with apple—which is inventive, but poses a problem when it comes to choosing dessert.

Which one to go for? The crumble wins texturally, but the apple tart is a classic. It can’t fail to please people. Toffee, meanwhile, seems destined for the fruit’s crisp parity of sweet notes and sharp. We felt overwhelmed, pulled in every direction by subtle shifts in mood and sensation. The answer, when it came, was like a warm, haloed beacon: Konditor and Cook’s toffee and apple crumble.

A toffee twist
“It’s a British crumble with a toffee twist, and a tart at the bottom,” says Lizzie of Konditor and Cook. “We handmake our pastry, crumble and toffee with organic ingredients, sourced locally where possible.”

The buttery combination spins sweet dreams of log fires, squishy armchairs, raucous family dinners and that smug sense of having beaten the cold. “It’s the best of both worlds,” she continues. “Plain is as good as anything, but if you want to warm it up and have cream or ice cream with it, that hits the spot nicely.”

Being hungry, and without means to warm it, we sink through the crusty, yielding crumble, through a cheeky swirl of toffee, to a cushion of bramley apples speckled with cinnamon, and, finally, the buttery, biscuit embrace of the pastry base.