Monday, April 4, 2011

My humble apple crumble, can you tell I cheated? SSSH!!

I think in order to do anything well, one has to love doing it otherwise the result will not be as rewarding. Maybe I still do not love baking enough to produce good results.  I admire bakers who bake beautiful and delicious pastries, cakes, breads and cookies. Some of my fellow bloggers are so talented and I can spend hours at their blogs admiring their fabulous photos and quietly wish I can bake like them. To me, they are not only fantastic bakers, they are food artists. 

My first attempt on baking apple crumble was a failure.  Why?  That is because I was neither interested in baking or cooking but that was one year ago.  Now, I would say I have improved to a state where I am not ashamed to share with you this humble apple crumble recipe of mine. I usually serve it with vanilla ice cream and there is no doubt the combination of flavors is very pleasing to the palette. 

Before we move on to the recipe, I am curious to know if you have ever wonder how professional photographers take photos of ice cream?  The last time when I photographed my banana foster with vanilla ice cream, the scoop of ice cream melted before I could get the settings right on my camera. You can see it in the picture below. Look pathetic right? This photo did not do justice to the recipe. If you like banana foster, you must try this.  It is an original recipe from Chef Paul and to me, the best! Just click on the photo and it will bring you to the post.

When you look at my apple crumble with vanilla ice cream, you will must be thinking, "Oh, Quay Po has master the skill of taking photo of ice cream or how come the ice cream did not melt?" Want to know why? Please read on.

A friend, who is a professional photographer told me that some of the fantastic shots of ice creams in magazines were not ice cream. They are mashed potato mixed with lard, karo syrup and food coloring. If I did not tell you that I cheated, would you know that the ice-cream on my apple crumble is mashed potato?

If you want to take photos of real ice creams instead of fake, perhaps some preparation in advance may help. Make sure your camera, the right lens including the tripod are in place. Check that the lighting is what you want. Place whatever you are going to used to hold the ice cream in the freezer for at least half an hour before taking the shot. This will provide you with more time to make adjustments before the ice cream melts. My next project is to take photo of real ice cream. Wish me luck. 

Apple crumble 


3 medium size apples, peeled, cored and sliced or cube
25 g brown sugar
25 g raisins
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla extract

100 g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
60 g cold butter, cut into small pieces
25 g castor sugar
10g chopped almonds


Preheat oven to 200 C or 400 F.  Cook A for 5 – 8 mins till apple is slightly soft.  Pour into an ovenproof dish.  B - Sift flour with salt. Rub in butter till it resembles fine bread crumbs.  Lightly mix in sugar and almonds.  Sprinkle B over A.  Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown.  Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or thickened cream.


  1. the apple crumble looks divine...and what a neat trick with the mashed potato...brilliant :)

  2. hmm interesting info..who would guess it is not an!Delicious dessert!

  3. Doesn't look like a failure to me at all! Looks pretty darn tasty.

  4. I love apple crumble. Can't wait for the apple picking season to begin this year. Tons of apple crumble and pies to be made.

  5. ahhh the wonders of food photography :) the apple crumble looks really delicious!

  6. OH! I really learned something today :)

  7. Nice one!
    Other than mashed potato, have you also ever noticed that cookie dough looks (and feels) like ice cream too?

  8. How funny! I know that sometimes in the bakeries, a scoop of French vanilla ice cream is butter flavored shortening (because of its yellow color). Ah, food styling...You did great!

  9. Hahaha clever! I've taken quite some pictures with ice cream (if you see in my P52 Ice Cream Monday posts) so far, they've been okay except for those with alcohol cause they melt really really fast!

    I usually freeze the cup / plate I am serving the ice cream with overnight, and also, roll the ice cream into balls and freeze them before taking pics. It works, most of the time. lol
    and yes, camera and table setting has to be ready beforehand!

  10. Hi, may I know how you get the apple crumble so round and thin. Pop into a muffin tray?

  11. Baking and cooking is enjoyable when you have a lot of people to share the end result with. It's hard to cook/bake for two person

  12. Veron, me too! I only started my culinary 2 years ago and has always lack of ingredients & accessories. I learned most of my baking from the site. I don't buy cookbooks often either. However, your apple crumble looks terrific. Bravo! You finally done it. Have a great day.

  13. And what did apple crumble and mashed potato taste like? was it a good combination:)

  14. Hi Veronica,

    Yes, I have heard that about food photography. I don't remember where I heard it from though, probably on tv. It makes so much sense though because food looks so much better that way and more vibrant colours.

    I certainly would not have guessed that your ice cream was mashed potato. I was actually guessing butter, silly me. Your apple crumble sounds delicious and wonderful. So simple to make as well. I'd eat that whole thing even right after I just had a big dinner. Thank you yet again for sharing your lovely recipe with us.

  15. Wow Quay Po, you're so good! You had me fooled! Heehee... Nevertheless, your apple crumble looks very good. I love it. Thanks for sharing this photography tip! :)

  16. David: Yes I think so too.

    Sandra: If my friend did not tell me about food styling, I wouldn't have known.

    Belinda: Oh I mean the failure was my first time baking the apple crumble. This is one is a success:D

    Reese: Yes there are so many delicious apple recipes. Enjoy

    Kristy: Thanks!! How nice if we are neighbors, we can cook together and share some props for our photos.

    Three-Cookies: hahaha, I have not tried that yet but now that you said it, my guess is, it taste awful!

    LeQuan: Thanks and yes, this is so simple to make, simple enough for an amateur baker like me.

    Jean: Thanks, this time I have to agree, it is delicious:D

    Ann: I am always please to share what I learnt with you.

    Eelin: Yes, it does and maybe can use that and see how it looks in photos.

    yummychunklet: hahaha, yes I did it!

    Swee San: thanks for the tips. Rolling the ice cream into balls and freeze it overnight is a great idea.

    Jocelyn: I cut the apple crumble with a round cutter.

    Small kuching: I absolutely agree with you. In my case, cooking and baking for 3 old folks is hard and that's why I invite my brother's family and friends to come share the joy.

    Passionate about cooking: Always happy to share and thanks for leaving an encouraging comment.

  17. It's amazing what we don't see! I would never have dreamed that was mash. Love the presentation of your apple crumble...but I'll take it with ice cream please, hold the mash!!!

  18. Hahaha, you pandai cheat! It look like real ice cream. Ya, thanks for help me to put comments in the lunch post.

  19. the apple crumble looks delicious! and, my daughter used to be in advertising, so i knew how the camera has to be tricked with substitutions. yours was perfect!! great job. blessings ~ tanna

  20. wow Quay Po, what creative idea with the ice cream!

    i have an award for u:

    do check out when u're free
    thks :)

  21. The Caked Crusader: Thanks. hahaha, no worries, I will serve you the apple crumble with real vanilla ice cream.

    Sonia: Not I "pandai" lah, I learn from the professional. Thank you again for the thoughtful post about the lunch. I received so many lovely comments from your friends and readers. I thought it is necessary for me to personally thank them:D

    Tanna: thanks and welcome to my blog. I appreciate your visit and comment.

    Alice: You are so sweet to think of me on the award. THANK YOU!

    Maris: Yes this time, I can safely call this bake of mine a success. Trust me, this does not happen very often.

  22. Love those shots! Looking at your pix, I'm ashamed of mine. Many times, I just can't get rid of those shadows lurking around. Hahaha! Guess there's not much you can do with digital camera, even with my latest Canon :<

    Yap, I read about using mashed potatoes in place of ice-cream on some articles sometime back & they're such a genius idea. Well done!

  23. I think you are way too hard on yourself - your apple crumble looks fantastic! The mashed potato trick is hilarious. :-)

  24. it still look so lovely ad DELICIOUS! (:

  25. You must have been in the advertising line before to use mash potato as ice cream. No drips, no mess and lovely control eh? Smart move!

  26. I once watched a documentary about food styling and it was so interesting. Cool idea about the mashed potatoes.

  27. Blackswan: Thanks for the compliment. Don't be ashame of your photos, you did well, we are not professional photographer. what Canon camera you use and what lens? Have you thought of getting a speed light to soft the shadow problem?

    Karen: Thanks and I think the mash potato trick is very clever of whoever thought of it first.

    Jasmine: Thanks and did you receive my email telling you that I have posted the bracelet and the earrings?

    ping: Me working in the advertising? I don't think I have chance, I don't have a creative mind.

    edith: Thanks for dropping by. Oh yes, I watched that too and it was way cool!

  28. i am making apple crumble for my home econs in school, and i would like to know for A, do i throw everything into a bowl and put it into the oven? cos i am a bit confused with the part A.

  29. L'il Mushroom: I am sorry my recipe is not clear. Please put all ingredients listed in (A) in a pot and cook over medium heat till apple is soft but not limb. Then pour the cooked mixture into an oven proof dish. If you have any further question, please feel free to ask me again. I am happy to clear your doubts. Thanks for your visit.

  30. thank you for replying, i really appreciated it :D

  31. Thks for suggestion! I'm using Canon powershot. Showed my pix with shadows to Canon tech but got a dumb answer from them .... "There's nothing much u can do....." Sigh!

  32. I love the way you write, you are so funny! And thanks for the mashed potato tip, who would've have thought of that??

  33. Nuts about food: thanks for your visit. I have to be very honest, I am not much of a writer because English is my second language. I just write from my heart and use the best expression without my little English vocab:D Hope to see you around often. Have nice week.

  34. may i know how much does this recipe serves?

  35. Love Apple Crumble, especially a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, what an awesome dessert for a warm and humid weather!


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