Crumble is a traditional British pudding. It is a type of fruit pie, where you seem to start by making pastry, and then do something else to it.
peeler for fruit (if necessary)
time in oven: 30-60 mins (see description)
cooking fruit if required
making crumble top
This is a minimal recipe. At the end, I suggest some additional or substitute ingredients.
A crumble can be made with all sorts of fruit. Certainly apple, but rhubard is good, and plum is nice if you can face stoning the fruit (or dealing with stones while eating the crumble). You can mix fruit - the photo shows apple and a few raspberries. Apple and blackberry is excellent. Some of the sourer fruits may need sugar added.
You can speed up the cooking by cooking the fruit on top of the stove in a saucepan until soft. The rest of the cooking can also vary. The crumble topping cooks quite quickly - 30 minutes should do it. But as long as the fruit has enough juice, it can stay in the oven for a while. This is rather a slap-dash English recipe, where I am tempted to say "Cook until done, then leave it in the oven until needed!" If cooked too long, it can end up dry - I think the one in the photo did. The ideal crumble has fruit juice bubbling through the crust. But the apples I used didn't seem to have much juice.
The crumble topping is distinctly odd. It is similar to making a pastry, except you leave it at the rubbed-in fact stage, and don't gather it into a ball or roll it out. Traditionally, the rubbed-in crumbs are just spread on top, but this can give a powdery effect. A (small!) amount of water, then running a knife or fork through just makes little bits start to join together, which helps to give the top a bumpier look. Because you are not making pastry, (or bread, or cake) it really doesn't matter what sort of flour you use. I think that plain flour is traditional, but this is a very forgiving recipe!
Traditionally, no spice is used. But it does perk things up a bit! Try some spice with the fruit - perhaps cloves with the apple. Or you can put some spice in the crumble topping, such as cinnamon or nutmeg. My mother-in-law used chocolate drops in the topping!
You can use brown sugar if you want. This gives the topping more taste, but it can make it look browner. Spice may do that as well.
You can eat it with cream, or ice cream, or custard. Or by itself.
© Jo Edkins 2007 -