Crumble is one of those truly comforting foods that is so easy to make and so versatile. It is warming and delicious but doesn’t make you feel a little ill if you over-indulge. There are three things that make crumbles, and particularly crumble extra good:
- Switch up the fruit in the filling – you can use apples or pears, you can use stone fruit like nectarines or peaches, rhubarb works, and you can use any types of berries really (blueberries are especially good!). You can mix-and-match all of these and try different combinations and depending on what is seasonal.
- The crumble mixture can be made in advance and kept frozen.
- The finished product can also be frozen, just skip the last step and pop them in the freezer, covered, until required. Cook them for a little longer.
Some varieties of apple lend themselves especially well to pies and crumbles, for example; Bramley, traditional green, Braeburn. But to be honest, I just tend to use whatever is around and adjust the sweetness accordingly. I’ve not yet had any disasters. It’s also a good way to get rid of apples that are getting a bit soft!
Growing up we would have made this with caster sugar, but I now try and use maple syrup instead and avoid any additional refined sugar with the fruit. You can increase the amount of syrup if you prefer it extra sweet – taste as you go to work this out. You can also make it with honey. I do use brown sugar in the crumble, but you could try maple syrup here too, it will just be very sticky to mix!
If you want to make this gluten free simply swap in GF plain flour. The nuts that work best are almonds, pistachios, pecans and walnuts.
Instead of butter in the crumble mixture you can use coconut oil, this way it is vegan / dairy free.
- 5 apples
- 2 punnets blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 120g unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts / seeds (almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts all work well!)
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Peeled and chop the apples into 1-2cm pieces. Place the apple in a saucepan with cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice, butter and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until it starts to soften, then add the blackberries and take off the heat. Stir once or twice.
Meanwhile, to make the crumble: combine the flour, ground almonds, and butter in a large bowl, and rub with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs with a few larger lumps. Add the sugar, oats and any seeds or nuts and rub / mix through again.
Sprinkle with a little cold water and rake through with a fork until you have a lumpy, crumbly mixture.
Tip the fruit mixture into baking dishes or ramekins – depending on whether you are making one large crumble or individual pots. Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture and pop in the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown.
Serve hot with cold custard, cream or ice cream.