So this probably isn’t the prettiest dessert you’ve ever seen, but it’s absolutely delicious, and even if you’ve never baked anyhing in your life before, you will be able to execute this with success (provided you keep with the recipe of course). In Sweden, the smulpaj is a very popular dessert. They have many versions of the paj, it can be made with a variety of fruits. Because the pie doesn’t have a base, there is no risk of a soggy bottom and you can go crazy with your fruit combinations. Plums, peaches, no problem. It can be as cheap as you want it to be, using seasonal or canned fruit, so it’s absolutely student friendly. It will go down a treat at a house or potluck dinner. Here I’ve included the recipe for the apple and cinnamon version, which is easily multiplied.
Swedish Smulpaj Recipe
An easy, cheap bottomless pie with a crumble topping and a juicy apple filling
– 4 small apples
– 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (but there’s no such thing as the cinnamon police so feel free to go a little crazy)
– 1/4-1/2 dl (25-50ml) granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon potato starch (if you have “dry” apples, you can leave this out, but it made for a really gooey sauce-like filling which never hurts)
75 gr unsalted butter
1 3/4 dl (175ml) plain flour
1/2 dl (50ml) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 1/2 (150ml) desiccated coconut (you can also use oats, or crushed cornflakes, or a mixture of any of these)
Preheat the oven to 200 C/392F
1. Start with your crumb topping. Take your butter out of the fridge to soften. If you’re making your topping by hand, cut the butter into smaller cubes.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and coconut in a bowl.
3. Then add the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, or mix with a handheld/freestanding mixer until you get a grainy, crumby consistency.
4. Move on to the apples. Peel and core them, then chop them into smaller pieces (I like to keep them a bit rough). Distribute the apple pieces on the base of an ovenproof dish (can be any shape you want, as long as the apple covers the base). Add the cinnamon, potato starch and sugar and mix so the apple pieces are evenly covered.
5. Distribute the crumb topping over the apples so that all the apples are covered.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is dark golden brown and crisp. Leave to rest for a while before serving.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, some vanilla sauce or ice cream.