scrump (third-person singular simple present scrumps, present participle scrumping, simple past and past participle scrumped)
- To steal fruit, especially apples, from a garden or orchard.
I love scrumping. Always have. I feel like the term ‘steal’ is a little harsh for what I do, however. It’s more… collecting from trees that I do not grow myself. I’m not breaking into people’s yards or orchards, I’m simply gathering fruit that has fallen that would otherwise go to waste (and we know how much I hate food waste…).
Evidently, I’m not alone in this. Scrumping is once again gaining popularity in the UK and, while there isn’t an article written about its popularity in North America, I have to assume there as well.
I wrote about this in my recent Crabapple post. When I stroll through parks or down rural residential streets with apple trees and see fruit piling up on the ground and left to rot, it’s too tempting to pick what’s still fresh and make use of what would otherwise be wasted. I have no idea what varietals of apples I’m picking, but I know they are edible, and I know I’m not alone. (Note: Don’t do this with berries or mushrooms unless you are very experienced- scrump safely, my friends)
Of course, the origins of scrumping are just as mischievous (and charmingly British?) as they sound. Sneaking into orchards and stealing apples. Misdemeanor-level thievery. I’m sure it annoyed the farmers quite a bit, but you must admit it sounds very quaint.
My first encounter with the term ‘scrumping’ was from one such elderly Brit, the grandmother of a friend of mine, who recounted scrumping apples with her sister during the Second World War. Willowy at the best of times, and extra lithe due to the food rationing at the time, my friend’s little spitfire of a grandmother collected so many apples in her jacket that she keeled over and could not climb the fence again to get out of the orchard. Her and her scrumping buddy were laughing so hard they almost got caught… almost.
It was a story re-told during just about every family holiday. It’s the kind of thing that would stick with you, a belly laugh to split you in two during what must have been some very bleak and scary times.
So, a good British dessert to pair with a good British story.
Apples (scrumped or grown/purchased legitimately) and fluffy cake. Incredibly simple, but utterly comforting- and a snap to put together. Perfect for the rainy days of Fall and an excellent use for my less-than-beauty-queen apples that I collected from the ground.
Traditionally, Eve’s Pudding, so named after she-who-ate-the-apple, is served with fresh custard because #sobritish. I admit, a fresh, warm, vanilla custard is absolute heaven on this cake. That being said, I am often too lazy to attempt it, so in a pinch a dollop of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream also works.
We call this ‘Evie’s Pudding’ in my house, after my little daughter. She’s too young to eat it yet, and for all I know she won’t like apples, but it does seem like the perfect dessert for a little kid. Stewed apples, vanilla cake kissed with lemon, vanilla custard/cream/ice cream… it’s exactly the kind of dessert a kid could help make, and then help devour. Enjoy!
|Eve's Pudding|| |
- 550g apples, peeled, cored and chopped*
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Icing sugar, to dust
- 2½ cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 4 egg yolks
- 6 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp corn starch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel and core the apples and chop very coarsely. Place in an oven-safe dish, add brown sugar and lemon juice, mixing gently to coat the apples evenly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and lemon zest until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gently work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients then spread the batter over the apples, making sure the edges of the batter kiss the sides of the dish. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the surface with icing sugar and serve at immediately with vanilla ice cream or traditional vanilla custard.
- To make the custard: Heat the milk and vanilla together in a saucepan so that it comes to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch together in a bowl. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened- roughly 5 minutes.