It’s that time of year again, Crumble Season. Whilst a fruit crumble is welcome any time of the year, once the blackberries ripen, it’s obligatory! This year, we had a nice little crop of plums, apples, and blackberries; our first crumble with fruits entirely grown in our garden since we moved here two years ago: so very exciting!
(Can you spot one of our (ten!!) Muscovy ducklings?! Oh, and we had a Bluetit family take up residence in that birdhouse this year too!)
This is such a great recipe: It can be dairy, gluten and sugar-free and vegan too if you need!
The crumble topping is what Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls an “Independent crumble”, meaning, it’s baked separately and can be frozen for any spontaneous crumble you may feel the need to make (I frequently have these kinds of needs). Also pre-baking the crumble gives you a delicious crisp crumb and retains the texture of your fruit (so it doesn’t all go to mush).
I make this crumble, freeze half, using it for any glut of fruit I come across. And speaking of fruit: here are some delicious combos:
-Apples and/or rhubarb (together or solo)
-Rhubarb and strawberry
-Apple and raspberry
-Apple and blackberry
-Peach and strawberry
-Apple, plum, and blackberry (as I made here)
And now, without further ado, let us move quickly to the recipe.
(Makes double quantities: one for now, one for the freezer)
(I generally make mine dairy/gluten/refined sugar-free and vegan, but alternatives are in brackets)
-150g GF oat flour (I whizz mine up in a processor) + 50g GF oats + 50g almond flour
(or alternatively, 200g of plain or spelt flour + 50g of oats)
(Grace doesn’t like oats in the crumble (there’s always one fussy one), so I usually whizz the whole lot up so I have 200g of oat flour)
-100g (raw, odourless) coconut oil (or butter).
-Pinch of salt
-50g coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
700g fruit (I used approximately 300g apples + 300g plums + 100g blackberries.)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or honey. Or sugar)
Optional: ½ tsp Cinnamon.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5
Gently heat the oil (or butter), then stir it into the flours with a fork, mixing until well combined. Stir in the sugar and salt. If it is too dry, you may need a little more oil or butter, add it by the spoon, you want a crumble mix that is like breadcrumbs, not too greasy.
Spread onto a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden, stirring around after 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it! You want it just golden so that it will take more baking later on. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare your fruit: washing, peeling, and stoning.
With harder fruit, like apples, I like to lightly cook the apples first; so I put the diced apple in a saucepan (not the highest setting) with half the sweetener and stir for about three-five minutes. When they start to soften a little, take them off, put them in your dish, add the plums and sprinkle the blackberries on top. Drizzle on the rest of the sweetener, vanilla (and cinnamon if using) and toss gently around.
Using half your prepared crumble, spoon it on top of the fruit in a thin, fairly-even layer. I like having fruit showing through the crumble. Then bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned (not burnt!).
Leave it for about ten minutes before eating. Serve with custard, cream, ice-cream or on its delicious lonesome!
(Makes a particularly lovely breakfast. So says “My Friend” (cough) who ate it thus the following morning).