from couscous to apple crumble
Intrepid’s Laura Carroll knows that sometimes the most unexpected moments are the most memorable, especially in Morocco…
“On a trip through the High Atlas Mountains, heavy rainfall and flooding prevented my group from making our planned mountain trek. After a bit of boredom, we came to an ingenious solution. Apple crumble!
We’d all been missing food from home, and here we were in one of the premier apple-growing regions of Morocco. With this idea in mind we set off to buy flour, sugar, spices and apples with which to occupy our evening.
Several shops and some haggling later, we were ready to begin. We all took turns mixing crumble and peeling apples on the terrace, then realized that the kitchen at our gite was equipped with nothing but a few gas burners, no oven to be had. Not disheartened in the slightest, we stewed our apples in a couscous pot and fried the crumble separately in an iron skillet.
As we cooked, we played music from our iPods and watched the lightning play out among the clouds between the peaks. The sheet lightning illuminating the mountains was one of the most majestic sites that any of us had seen. As the aroma of cinnamon filled the air, we knew that we were on to something special. Sharing apple crumble on a mountain in Morocco was not something that we could have planned. But it turned out to be a memorable occasion for all.
For authenticity, you need a couscous pot and a tiny Moroccan kitchen. But even if you don’t have these things, the recipe should do…
250g whole wheat flour and 250g sugar, weighed on a scale in a tiny shop
One stick of fresh butter from the mountains
A little bit of cinnamon and ginger from the spice shop
A kilo of fresh apples, picked earlier that day
Mix the flour with the butter and half the sugar. Knead it until it looks crumbly and set aside.
Peel, core and slice the apples, preferably while balancing the cutting board on your knees.
Stew the apples with the spices and remaining sugar in a couscous pot or whatever’s on hand.
Fry the crumble in an iron skillet until brown.
Dish up the apples into small bowls, sprinkle with crumble, and share with everyone around you.
* Atlas Mountains photo by Sarah Henry – Intrepid Photography Competition