I rarely make a crumble, for the simple reason that I have an awful tendency to just eat the topping, leaving a bowl of hot, sweet fruit for everyone else to enjoy! It’s one of my favourite things in life and if I had absolutely no sense of right or wrong, there’s a very good chance that I’d simply make great vats of the crumble topping and eat that on its own (albeit with some custard or vanilla ice cream). But, despite my hedonistic tendencies, even I haven’t gone quite that far (yet!) and so here is my favourite crumble recipe. They say that half of the pleasure is in the visual spectacle and while I do enjoy a simple apple crumble, there’s nothing like the vibrant burst of colours you get from this version, added with the wonderful jammy consistency you get from the blackberry.
- 1.2 lbs / 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 ounces / 60g caster sugar
- 7 ounces 200g fresh blackberries
- 3½ ounces / 100g plain flour
- 2¾ ounces / 80g oats
- 3½ ounces / 100g soft light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 ounce / 25g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) / 356°F (320°F fan).
Place the apples and caster sugar in a medium sized saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook over a medium heat for 7-10 minutes stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved and the apples have become soft .
Stir in the blackberries and then transfer to a pie dish while you prepare the crumble.
Combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then rub in the butter between your fingers to make coarse breadcrumbs.
Pour the crumble mix over the fruit filling and spread out evenly.
Bake for around 35 minutes until the crumble is beginning to go a crunchy golden colour and sprinkle with the demerara sugar the moment the crumble is removed from the oven.
Serve with custard or ice cream.
It is generally accepted that the English were the first to create the apple pie but some sources claim the dish was around in ancient Egypt as early as 9500 BC. While hugely popular in the USA and almost considered symbolic of traditional American home values, the dish has rapidly gained in popularity around the world, often with interesting regional twists. Apple crumble, however – known in the USA as apple crisp – is a more recent development of the apple pie. The earliest reference to it seems to be in 1924 in Isabel Ely Lord’s Everybody’s Cookbook: A Comprehensive Manual of Home Cookery, published in New York. (No recipe for this appeared in the 1896 Fannie Farmer Cookbook which was a comprehensive collection of American recipes.)