Nigella Lawson’s apple crumble with key ingredient is perfect for autumn

Apple crumble is undoubtedly the favourite autumnal dessert because it marries fruits, spices, and a delectable crumbly topping that combines perfectly with custard.

The dish’s humble origins date back to the Second World War when it was conceived by British housewives as a substitute for apple pie.

At the time, the pastry was a rarity that far exceeded the country’s strict rationing measures, unlike the more economical alternative which was crumble.

Despite its modest beginnings, the apple crumble has become hugely across Britain due to its unparalleled comfort factor, inspiring adaptions from iconic cooks like Nigella Lawson.

The celebrated chef, who has always been transparent about her love of sweet things, claims that Marsalla is the perfect ingredient to elevate the British staple on her website.

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Her page states: “Yes, my portions are always generous, but the thing is on certain days we just ate this – the two of us – for supper in its entirety.

“Cooked more traditionally, it’s enough for three comfortably and if you have small children eating with you, then it’ll stretch to four.”

Lawson stresses the importance of using a smaller dish for the recipe, with the freedom to go smaller but not larger. Here’s how the rest of the recipe goes:


  • 25 grams of raisins or sultanas
  • Three x 15 ml tablespoons marsala
  • 100 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams unsalted butter (cold, cut into little squares)
  • 60 grams walnut pieces
  • 45 grams of light brown sugar plus one heaped tablespoon
  • Approx 500 grams of cooking apples such as Bramley



Preheat the oven 190C / 170C Fan / 375F. Put the raisins in a small saucepan, add the marsala, bring to a bubble, then turn off the heat and leave the pan to stand on the sill warm hob


Add the flour to a bowl and run in the butter with your fingertips: The crumble should be like rubbly meal or porridge oats.

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Finely chop the walnuts into small pieces. Sing a fork, and stick it into the crumble mixture followed by the sugar. Set aside in a cool place while you prepare the apples.


Peel the apples, quarter them and cut out the core, then slice each quarter in half across if the apples are small. If you’re using a large apple, slice each quarter across into three or four pieces.


Add the fruit to the sultanas in their pan and stir in one tablespoon of sugar, then turn the heat back on and bring to a bubble.

Before putting on a tightly fitting lid and letting cook for five minutes or so, until the apples have softened at the edges.

Transfer to a small oval pie dish, cover with the crumble mixture and cook in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until the crumble topping appears golden on top and brown around the edges. Serve with with custard or ice cream.

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