The Apple Crumble Story


Micha from Yemen wrote me yesterday:

“Many many years ago (early 70’s) on Sunday evenings I used to go to think it was Little Lonsdale St and share both food and ideas with my Chrishna friends and now I seek further help in aquiring the recipe for ‘Apple Crumble’ can you please send me the info. Thanks and congratulations on your success.”

My reply:

“Wow! Amazing you remember the address. Yes, the Hare Krishna Sunday Feast at our Little Lonsdale Street shop in Melbourne.

Dvaipayana the cook made his famous apple crumble then, and although I don’t have his actual recipe in front of me, here’s mine:

For a large tray you will need about a dozen big green apples, maybe less, maybe more, sliced thin and sprinkled with a little sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and raisins.

The topping should be a combination of 1.5 cups rolled whole oats (not the quick-cook variety), 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup raw sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and at least 1 cup melted butter. Rub all the topping ingredients together, spread the apple on the bottom of a heavy baking tray, sprinkle on the topping and bake in a hot oven for 40 minutes or until the apples are cooked and the topping is golden and aromatic.

Thanks for your kind words. Happy cooking!”


I remember those heady days in Melbourne, and especially I remember Dvaipayana’s famous apple crumble. I wrote about it in my book ‘The Great Transcendental Adventure’, as follows:

20 May, 1975: After the evening program, a feast was served in Parampara Hall. One of the items cooked, ‘apple crumble’, had become the centre of an ongoing controversy. Apple crumble consisted of a layer of thinly sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins, topped with a mixture of half-and-half oats and brown sugar combined with melted butter.

The whole thing was baked until the apples were soft and the topping crisp and golden. It was the oats that were the object of critical scrutiny. Some devotees were of the opinion that oats were “meant for horses” and thus were a “low-class” grain, not fit to be offered to the Deity or Srila Prabhupada. Despite the divergent opinions, Dvaipayana continued to cook apple crumble regularly.

This night, Dvaipayana had set aside a portion of each preparation cooked to offer to Srila Prabhupada. Srutakirti came down to the kitchen, collected the prasadam and brought it upstairs along with some hot milk.

Not long after Srila Prabhupada had started eating, Srutakirti came rushing back down to the kitchen. “Prabhupada really likes that apple stuff,” he said. “He just said to me, ‘Bring me more of that “crispy apples.” ‘ “Thus ended the rolled oats controversy; apple crumble was on it’s way to stardom.

(from The Great Transcendental Adventure, by Kurma Dasa, Chapter 11)
Posted by Kurma on 26/9/09; 5:29:28 AM

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