This is a very simple dessert, but it’s amazing how often people get it wrong. I believe it’s all to do with the crumble topping. The truth is that there’s no point in stinting on the ingredients. A low-fat crumble tastes just that – a poor imitation – you’re not fooling anyone here.
Crumble is definitely not an everyday event. It deserves to be a rare and special-occasion treat.
Also, please remember that it’s not at all sophisticated – it’s meant to be the epitome of home cooking, so the more rustic it looks, the better. (in other words, just chuck it all together.. 😉 )
- for variations, please see the NOTES below..*
That’s why when I make it, I jump right in there and go the whole hog – butter and sugar in the ingredients, and cream, custard or ice-cream to accompany – bring it on!
Here’s how I do it:
- Serving dish – either an oval deep pie-dish, or a 3-inch deep, 12′ square lasagne-type dish.
- A medium-large bowl
- a baking tray.
- a small pot to melt the butter
For the filling:
- 6 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks.
- 250 g fresh or frozen raspberries
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
For the Crumble:
- 160g Rolled Oats
- 190g Plain flour
- 180g light Muscovado Sugar
- pinch salt
- 170g Butter, melted
- zest of a large orange (optional, but Mr Saturday Night thinks it essential!)
- Put the peeled apples, caster sugar and cinnamon into your chosen serving dish, add a splash of water.
- Sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the apples. Don’t bother to stir them in – just leave them there on top of the apples
- Make up the crumble mixture – put the Oats, Flour, salt and Sugar into a medium-large bowl and mix together well, remembering to check for lumps in the Muscovado sugar. Add the Orange zest now if you’re using it.
- Pour over the melted butter and mix in well with a spoon. The crumble will come together and look damp and lumpy – this is exactly how you want it!
- Put the dish onto a baking sheet
- Sprinkle the crumble generously and evenly over the entire fruit mixture. Don’t bother to pat it down.
- Cook at 160 for about 40 minutes. Check with a thin knife blade that the fruit is fully cooked.. (it will be, never fear)
- The crumble should be a beautiful golden colour, with bits of the fruit bubbling through around the edges.
- It will be really hot at this stage, so give it 5-10 minutes before serving – this will give you a chance to get the cream/ice-cream/custard gathered up!
- Naturally, the ingredients can be varied to reflect the seasons – another of my favourites is apple and plum crumble – just cut the stoned plums into quarters and add to the apples as above. Try to make sure that the plums are fairly ripe – if they’re not, as is so often the case, cook them separately for about 15 minutes in the oven, the add to the uncooked apples as before. Some cinnamon and vanilla extract add to the flavour.
- August 2018: My new seasonal flavour is Apple and Blackberry – the Blackberries are in the hedges at this time of year, so pick them, use them, and possibly freeze a handful for deep mid-winter!
- Rhubarb Crumble – possibly my favourite of all – use about 500g Rhubarb chopped finely – then top with the Crumble mixture as before. You can sprinkle over a little dried ginger if you like, and I tend to keep the orange zest in, as it definitely adds a certain something to the dish. Don’t forget to try my favourite combo, and add a few chopped Strawberries to the Rhubarb – the flavours are made for each other!