Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dairy Free Gluten Free Soya Free Autumnal Apple Crumble and Custard

With the nights drawing in, and an autumnal nip in the air, thoughts inevitably turn to comfort food! What could be better than a traditional autumnal fruit crumble and yummy custard??

'Baby' finally, I'm delighted to say, has taken to one of my favourite puds - apple crumble!! And I am truly delighted, because for one thing I can get to eat pudding again (it's no fun just making it for yourself) and for another it means I'm getting a little bit more fruit inside her!!

The recipe I use is based on my parents' favourite formula (my Dad is just as likely to make it as my mum), with a slight twist that comes from my sister-in-law!!

I hope you don't feel like I'm teaching you to suck eggs, as it were, but if you are new to going dairy free, you may not yet have contemplated making your old family favourites with your new dairy free substitutes!

This recipe can be shared between three ramekins.

To begin with you need:

2 large Bramley apples
1 dessert apple (Gala or similar)
1 knob of dairy free margarine (Pure, Vitalite or similar)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 tablespoons water

A couple of handfuls of blackberries could replace one of the Bramley apples for yet another autumnal favourite.

I also like rhubarb and apple crumble, but that is made strictly for me, as 'Baby' doesn't do rhubarb and neither does The Hub!! If I was making rhubarb crumble, I would replace the Bramley apples with two large stalks of rhubarb and would cut them into large chunks.


1. First you peel, core and cut the apple into small chunks.

Make sure your chunks of apple are a reasonable size, if you don't want a complete mush!

2. Add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer gently for about 15/20 mins with the odd stir to soften. 

3. Spoon between three ramekins and set aside.

Fill the ramekins about two thirds full, with your fruit mixture.

Next you need:

4 oz     plain flour (I use Doves Farm gluten free)
2.5 oz  dairy free margarine (Pure, Vitalite or similar)
2 oz     sugar

Crumble Method:

1. First turn on your oven and set the temperature to 180 degrees C.

2. Rub the fat into the flour, using the tips of your fingers, to make crumbs. I tend to make these quite rough crumbs, as you really need to work quite fast with dairy free margarine - it becomes quite soft very quickly. It helps if your hands are cool and it's not too hot in your kitchen!

3. Stir in the sugar,using a metal spoon. You can at this stage also add some oats or crushed nuts. I personally love the rustic look, but my little one likes her crumble texture free!

4. Spread over a grease proof paper covered tray and place in the oven for about 5-10 minutes - just to toast slightly (this is the tip from my sister-in-law, who likes her crumble crispy and not soggy!).

Spread it out quite thinly, so that your crumble topping can toast

5. Spoon over the apple in the ramekins.

Now, at this point, I usually place one ramekin in the oven to cook, to eat that day; another ramekin is covered with cling wrap and placed in the fridge, whilst the final one is wrapped and placed in the freezer.

6. The crumble is cooked in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 20 mins, until the top is golden brown. When cooking the crumble from the fridge, it's wise to place the ramekin in the oven before you turn it on - to allow the dish to warm up with the oven - otherwise the dish may crack. 

7. Whilst the crumble is cooking, make the custard!

Good to go!

For the custard, you will need:

2 tbsp. instant custard powder
1 pint of dairy free milk (I use Koko or almond milk - almond milk makes a thinner custard)
2 tbsp golden syrup

Custard Method:

1. Heat your dairy free milk, over a medium heat in a non-stick pan.

2. Mix the custard powder and a couple of tablespoons of dairy free milk, in a heat proof jug (Pyrex or similar).

3. As the bubbles begin to form around the edge of the milk in the pan, remove the pan from the heat and pour the heated milk onto the custard mix. Note: don't try to add the mix to the milk - you will have a disastrous mess on your hands! I know because I've done it - just the once, because once is enough!

4. Mix well, with a metal spoon, and return to the pan. 

5. Continue to heat on a medium heat. Keep stirring with a wooden or silicone spatula or spoon, as the custard begins to thicken, but please note, almond milk will not thicken as much as Koko coconut milk. To counter this, you can use more custard powder at the custard powder stage, but your custard will taste more powdery, as a result! Almond milk may also make your custard have a slightly grey tinge to it, but it still tastes really good!

6. Once the custard has thickened to your liking, pour it into a heat proof serving jug. Please note: the custard may thicken slightly, as it cools.

7. Serve and enjoy! Any left over custard can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated in your microwave.

Alternative serving tip:

If you can't be faffed to make custard, Alpro custard made with soya is available in cartons in the free from section of most supermarkets. You can now also buy Oatly, oat-based custard in the free from fridge section at larger branches of Tesco.

Much as I love apple crumble with custard, if I can't be faffed to make my custard (I can't tolerate soya and Oatly isn't gluten free), I love mine with a good dollop of Co-yo yoghurt - it's thick and creamy and goes well with a slightly tart fruit dessert. 

'Baby'? well if there's no custard to hand, she prefers hers with a dairy free vanilla ice cream!

Related Post:

Heaven in a mouthful - Co-yo dairy free, soya free yoghurt

For more Dessert ideas, see this page:

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