Friday, August 31, 2018

Apple-Blackberry-Marmalade Crumble and a Giveaway

Did I mention I’m in Ireland? (Only a few dozen times, right?) Whilst perusing a local book seller’s wares, I came upon a lovely cookbook: Irish Cooking, by Clare Connery. Yes, Of course I have a number of Irish cookbooks (in Massachusetts), but this one is particularly nice, because the recipes are easy yet authentic, and there are gorgeous full-page color illustrations throughout.

Earlier in the week I noticed that there were blackberries growing wild in every hedgerow, including the one across from my little property. I decided I had to use them, so went out berry picking one evening. Of course, this being Ireland, a delightful older man pulled up in a battered vehicle and introduced himself. Turns out he was actually born in “my” house 79 years ago, and he still lives down the road, where he raises bees and makes honey (he gave me a jar). We had a lovely chat. Then my neighbor behind stopped by and gave me a jar of her own zucchini-ginger jam (she has an extensive garden, and has already given me carrots, onions, and a humongous round zucchini. The Irish not only love to talk, the try to feed you. I’m not complaining!

So I sallied forth to make a recipe from the cookbook, using my handpicked blackberries. Also Bramley apples, which I love—they may look a bit lumpy, but they cook well and last a long time.

Apple, Blackberry and Marmalade Crumble

From Clare Connery’s Irish Cooking (with a few tweaks)

1 lb. Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced (this turned out to be 2 apples)

1 Tblsp lemon juice
3 oz. caster sugar
2 fluid oz. water
2 Tblsp marmalade
4 oz. fresh blackberries, washed (I actually used a bit more)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  [Important note: this was my first excursion with my new Neff Slide-and-Hide oven, as seen on The Great British Baking Show. While it took a bit of time to decipher the icons which are the only instructions, we are now getting along just fine. And the door really does gently slide under the oven compartment, which is a big plus in a small kitchen.)

Grease and butter a 1-1/2 pint (or larger) ovenproof dish.

Put the prepared apples in a saucepan along with the lemon juice, water and sugar. Cook over low heat until the apples begin to soften—about 10 minutes—stirring occasionally. Stir in the marmalade and blackberries and mix gently.

Pour the mixture into the oven-proof dish and prepare the topping.

Crumble Topping:


1-1/2 oz. butter

3 oz. plain flour
1-1/2 oz. demerara sugar


Rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar (the mixture should look like coarse crumbs). Scatter the mixture over the fruit in the dish and press down slightly.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. (Depending on your dish, you may want to put a cookie sheet on the shelf below in case the crumble overflows.)

According to Connery, you can substitute rhubarb, gooseberries or plums for the apples (leaving out the blackberries). You can also substitute quick-cooking oats for some or all of the flour in the topping.

Giveaway alert! Since I’m between books, I’d like to offer a copy of the expanded Connery book, which includes comments on Irish folklore, myths and history as well as most of the same recipes and pictures. Leave a comment below, and tell us what your favorite Irish recipe is!

My house is the little one on the left with the two chimneys


  1. When I visited Ireland, I was most impressed by the simply cooked seafood, including fish varieties the we don't have here in the Pacific Northwest. But I most often cook good Irish scones.

  2. I'm not sure I know any Irish recipes, but I love cookbooks and this one sounds wonderful.
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

  3. Irish soda bread is the only one I attempted, and it was good.

  4. I was just about to ask where I can find that cookbook! I'm not sure i ever prepared a true Irish recipe. Perhaps the Soda Bread was since it came from someone's Irish grandmother!
    jmpurcel at hotmail dot come

  5. I love cabbage and ham. Irish stew is good in the winter.

  6. Irish Soda Bread is likely the only Irish recipe that I make. But my family and I love it especially in winter, served with good butter and soup or stew.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  7. Corn Beef and Cabbage is soothing during the winter and stew as well. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Sheila dear, what, pray tell, is "caster sugar"? A name Google doesn't know for granulated sugar?

    1. From FOOD52:Caster sugar goes by a variety of names, including castor sugar, baker’s sugar, and superfine sugar, the last of which alludes to what exactly it is: a finer granulated sugar. If a grain of granulated sugar is big and a grain of powdered sugar is tiny, caster sugar would be somewhere in between.

    2. Yup, the fine white stuff (not superfine). I'd take pictures of the offerings of sugar at the market, but it would take a whole series of pictures. And don't get me started on the kinds of salt.