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Apple Crumble with Portuguese Firewater, Taking An English Favourite One Step Further!


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One thing I like the most about baking/cooking is to try recipes from other countries, and at the end, if it’s possible, add a Portuguese taste. That’s what happened with my apple crumble recipe.

Original from United Kingdom during the World War II, since crumbles were an economic way to safe ingredients and an alternative to pies. Of course and since it came from UK, I’ve used a British recipe to guide me, but I add one of our Portuguese drinks, the firewater (aguardente in Portuguese) or as it is mainly known, brandy. (Aguardente in Portuguese means literally, “burning water” (água = water / ardente = burning).

Firewaters are strong alcoholic beverages obtain by fermentation and distillation of fruits. In Portugal, the most famous fruits based ones are from grapes or medronhos (fruit of the Strawberry Tree). This last one is very common to find in the region of the Algarve (South region of Portugal), worthy to try it!

We have the tradition to drink it after-meal or dessert and it’s mandatory to have it on family reunions and parties.

In this apple crumble of mine, I used firewater from Lourinhã (Centre region of Portugal), winner of many prizes in the last few years. It is one with the highest quality and for many, the Lourinhã firewater is at the same level of the French cognac; actually, Lourinhã firewater is nowadays called lourinhac.


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Peel the apples, take out the seeds and slice them.

In a pan, add the sliced apples, the cup of water, the white sugar and the firewater – I used half of a cup as measure, but if you want it stronger, maybe a cup should be enough. Cook it about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside for a while.

Prepare the crumble. In a recipient, add the flour, the brown sugar and the butter at room temperature. With your fingers, smash the butter in the rest of the ingredients until you get something like wet sand.

In a ramekin, set the apples and the syrup in the bottom and sprinkle the crumble over it. If you want, you can add more sugar brown sugar to caramelize when melted. Take it to the oven (180ºC) and bake it for about 30 minutes, or until it is firm at touch and with a crispy look.

  • 200 g of flour
  • 150 g of butter at room temperature
  • 150 g of brown sugar
  • 100 g of white sugar
  • 9 Apples
  • 1 Teacup of water
  • High quality firewater

Devaneios De Chocolate

marli-profile-pictureThis is the second guest post from Marli, you can find the first one here.  She hails from Portugal and is a tourist guide by day and a chocoholic by night. She also says, “Baking is my dream and someday, I would like to see Devaneios de Chocolate jump from the web into the reality“. We all wish her the best of luck!

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