Helen Goh's apple and blackberry slump

Feel free to use any fruit in this dessert. Pouring cream to serve, however, is non-negotiable.
Feel free to use any fruit in this dessert. Pouring cream to serve, however, is non-negotiable. Photo: William Meppem

Like a crumble, a slump is a rustic dish of stewed fruit with a sweet topping. But where the crumble's topping is a rubbly mix of oats, butter, sugar and flour, slumps are topped with spoonfuls of scone-like batter and more commonly cooked on the stove top, where they steam like dumplings. Preferring a crisper texture against the soft stewed fruit, I have baked this in the oven and am happy to report that it works perfectly. Feel free to use any fruit that you have on hand.

Ingredients

For the fruit

50g softened butter, plus 20g extra for buttering the dish

5 cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

60g sugar (more if apples are very tart)

juice and peel of 1 large lemon

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

60ml (or more) water

2 tbsp brandy

200g blackberries

⅛ tsp salt

For the batter

150g plain flour

20g cornflour

40g castor sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling

¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

95g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

170ml buttermilk

pouring cream, to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven to 210C (190C fan-forced). Brush the base and sides of an ovenproof casserole or pie dish (about 26-28cm wide) with the 20g extra butter and set aside.

2. To make the fruit filling, melt 50g butter in a large frying pan then toss in the apple, sugar, lemon juice and peel, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until apple begins to soften, about 7-10 minutes, depending on the apples. Add a little of the water if the apple looks like it is drying out – you'll want the mix to be juicy but not watery, as this would dilute the apple flavour.

3. Add the brandy and cook for a few seconds, then stir in the blackberries and salt. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lemon peel, cinnamon and vanilla bean, then scrape the fruit mix into the buttered pie dish. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

4. Sift flour, cornflour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Add the 95g butter and use your fingertips to rub into the flour mix until they form small flakes. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the batter just comes together – it will be wet and dimply.

5. One at a time, gently drop six spoonfuls of the batter (a large ice-cream scoop with a release mechanism is very useful here) around and on top of the fruit mix, spacing them a few centimetres apart. Wet the tips of your fingers and gently pat the mounds to flatten a little (but do not push into the fruit). This will help it to cook more evenly.

6. Sprinkle the extra sugar on top of each "scone", then place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling slightly and the scones golden brown in colour.

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving with pouring cream. The slump is best eaten while still warm.