Apple Crumble Recipe


Apple crumble is a classic British dessert that has been popular for generations. It's a simple dish made by topping fresh apples with a crumbly, buttery streusel topping and baking until golden brown and bubbling. The magic of apple crumble lies in its simplicity - just a handful of everyday ingredients transformed into something comforting and delicious. This beloved pudding is easy to prepare and versatile. It works with all kinds of apples, from sweet to tart varieties. The crumble topping can also be customised with different grains, nuts and spices. Apple Crumble is the perfect casual dessert to serve for family dinners or relaxed gatherings with friends. It's equally welcome at potlucks and holiday feasts.


Ingredient


Apple crumble is a classic British dessert that has been popular for generations. It's a simple dish made by topping fresh apples with a crumbly, buttery streusel topping and baking until golden brown and bubbling. The magic of apple crumble lies in its simplicity - just a handful of everyday ingredients transformed into something comforting and delicious. This beloved pudding is easy to prepare and versatile. It works with all kinds of apples, from sweet to tart varieties. The crumble topping can also be customised with different grains, nuts and spices. Apple Crumble is the perfect casual dessert to serve for family dinners or relaxed gatherings with friends. It's equally welcome at potlucks and holiday feasts.

 

 For the apple filling:

  • Apples -Choose a mix of sweet and tart varieties like Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc. Peel and core them and cut them into slices or chunks.

  • Sugar - Usually 1-4 Tbsp per 5 cups sliced apples, to taste. Granulated white sugar or brown sugar both work well.

  • Flour - 1-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour helps thicken the filling.

  • Spices - Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc for flavour (optional)

  • Lemon juice - A squeeze of juice prevents browning (optional)

For the crumble topping:

  • Butter - 1/2 cup chilled, cubed butter

  • Flour - 1/4-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • Rolled oats - 1-1 1/2 cups help give the crumble its texture

  • Sugar - 1/4 cup white and/or brown sugar

  • Spices - dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc (optional)

  • Pinch of salt


Step-by-Step Method for Classic Apple Crumble


Now that we've covered choosing apples, preparing the filling and mixing the topping, let's walk through the complete process of assembling and baking apple crumble:

  • Prep the baking dish - Grease your baking dish with butter generously or use nonstick cooking spray. This helps prevent the crumble or apples from sticking.

  • Make the filling - Peel, core and slice 5-6 medium apples into thin slices or chunks. Toss with 1-4 Tbsp white granulated or brown sugar, 1-2 Tbsp flour and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add spices if desired.

  • Assemble the crumble - In a separate bowl, use your fingers or a fork to work 1/2 cup cold butter into 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and spices until crumbly.

  • Fill the baking dish - Spread the apple mixture evenly into the prepared dish. Top evenly with the crumble mixture.

  • Bake - Bake at 190°C (375°F) for 40-50 minutes until browned and bubbling at the edges.

  • Cool and serve - Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving warm with ice cream or custard. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

And that's it - your from-scratch apple crumble is ready to enjoy! Adjust the recipe as desired with different apples, spices and crumble add-ins.


apple crumble

apple crumble


Choosing the Best Apples for Crumble


When making apple crumble, the variety and quality of apples you use significantly impact the finished result. Selecting the right apples helps ensure a flavorful filling with an ideal thickened texture after baking. The ideal apples for crumble have a balanced sweet-tart taste, hold their shape during cooking and break down into a saucy (but not mushy) filling.

 

Good apple variety options include:

  • Cooking apples like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonagold or Gravenstein. Their sturdy texture and sharp flavour are perfect for crumble.

  • Firm heirloom apples like Honeycrisp, Jonathan or Mutsu work well too. They maintain some tartness when cooked.

  • A mix of sweet and tart apples creates a balanced filling. Pair sweeter Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious apples with more acidic Granny Smiths.

  • Avoid apples that cook down too soft or fast like McIntosh, as well as super tart apple varieties.

When evaluating apples for crumble, taste one raw. It should have a pleasing balance of sweetness and tartness. Apples past their prime can lack flavour. Examine the texture - the flesh should be firm and crisp rather than mealy. Soft spots indicate an overripe apple. For best results, allow time for chilled, recently purchased apples to come to room temperature before baking. You can use just one variety or a blend. Mixing different apples creates a more complex flavour. The filling will also better hold its shape with a combination of firmer and softer varieties. Taste and test different apple types each season to find your favourites for crumble!


Equipment for Making Apple Crumble


Part of making fantastic apple crumble involves having the right kitchen tools. You don't need any fancy equipment - just a few basics will do. Here is the shortlist of handy appliances and bakeware for prepping and baking crumble:

  • Baking dish - An 8-inch or 9-inch (20-23cm) square, round or rectangular baking pan, ceramic dish or deep pie plate works well. For a large crumble, you can also use a 9x13-inch (23x33cm) rectangular baking dish.

  • Peeler - For easily peeling apples if desired. A swivel-blade vegetable peeler is quick and nimble.

  • Knife and cutting board - Essential for coring and slicing apples. A chef's knife or paring knife does the job.

  • Mixing bowls - You'll need at least two bowls; one for the apple filling mixture and one for the crumble topping.

  • Wooden spoon - Helpful for gently stirring together the filling and dry crumble ingredients.

  • Measuring cups and spoons - Necessary for accurately measuring out the ingredients. Standard dry measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons will suffice.

  • Wire cooling rack - Allows air circulation so the crumble can cool evenly and become crisper after baking.


Ingredient Substitutions and Variations


One of the great things about apple crumble is how customisable it is. You can tweak ingredients to put your spin on this classic dessert. Try these easy apple crumble variations:

  • Use brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey for the filling instead of white sugar.

  • Flavour the filling with spices like ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.

  • Stir in toasted nuts like almonds, pecans or walnuts to the filling for crunch.

  • Add dried fruit like raisins, dried cranberries, apricots or dates to the filling.

  • Use light or dark brown sugar in the crumble topping for a richer caramelized flavour.

  • Swap rolled oats for quick oats, cornflakes, crushed gingersnaps or other grains.

  • Fold shredded coconut, crushed nuts or spices into the crumble mixture.

  • Drizzle crumble with a glaze of powdered sugar mixed with milk or lemon juice after baking.


Prepping Apples for the Filling

 

Preparing the apples is one of the key steps in crafting a flavorful crumble filling. With the right techniques, you can coax the apples into creating their own beautifully thickened, saucy juices as they bake. Here are some tips for prepping apples that lead to crumble success:

  • Peel or not? It's up to you! Peeling removes the skin but also some flavour. Leaving the peels on adds textural interest, nutrition and rustic appeal. If peeling, a swivel blade vegetable peeler quickly removes thin strips.
  • Core apples using an apple corer or by slicing in half and scooping out the core and stem with a paring knife. Remove any bruised spots.
  • Cut apples into thin slices, chucks or a combination. Uniform thin slices break down more evenly during cooking. Larger chunks give more textural variation.
  • Toss apples with sugar and flour. Coating the apples helps draw out moisture for a saucy filling. Use 1 to 4 tablespoons of white sugar or brown sugar per 5 cups of apples along with 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
  • Add lemon juice - a squeeze of juice prevents apples from browning and boosts flavour. Skip this step if using very tart apple varieties.
  • Season with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice or cardamom for warmth. Vanilla extract enhances apple flavour. 
  • Do not overcrowd the baking dish. Spread apples evenly in one layer, at a depth of no more than 2 inches.

 

 


apple crumble

apple crumble


Making the Perfect Crumble Topping


In a great apple crumble, a crunchy, lightly sweet crumble topping complements the fruit filling. The crumble adds fabulous texture contrast to the soft baked apples. Making a well-balanced topping relies on using the right combination of ingredients. Follow these tips for crumble greatness:

  • Use cold butter - working quickly with chilled diced butter helps the topping stay crumbly. Do not let the butter melt during mixing.

  • Add white and/or brown sugar to lightly sweeten and help break down the oats and flour. White sugar makes a crisper topping while brown sugar creates a more caramelized, chewy texture.

  • Include rolled oats - old-fashioned oats add great flavour and chew. Quick oats work too but result in a softer crumble. Substitute other grains like chopped nuts, rice flakes or cornmeal for variety.

  • Add flour - plain or whole wheat flour helps bind the topping. Use too much and it can get dry, so add just enough - usually 1/4 to 1/2 cup per 5 cups apples.

  • Spice it up - cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and other baking spices add warmth. Citrus zest infuses brightness.

  • Work the butter into a dry mixture until pea-sized clumps form. Avoid over-mixing to keep the crumble loose and uneven.

  • Sprinkle topping evenly over the filled pan. Bake until golden brown. The crumble will firm up as it cools.

 

Apple crumble straight from the oven is delicious on its own, but you can also dress it up before serving. Here are tasty ways to serve your homemade crumble creation:

  • Top the warm crumble with a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla, cinnamon or butter pecan all complement the apples beautifully.

  • Drizzle with creamy French vanilla custard or rich crème anglaise sauce.

  • Serve each portion with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

  • Pour a splash of caramel sauce over individual servings for an indulgent treat.

  • Spoon sweetened plain Greek yoghurt over a warm crumble instead of cream or custard.

  • For an autumnal touch, top crumble with maple whipped cream.

  • Sprinkle crumble with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

  • Accompany crumble with a small pitcher of warm brandy butter sauce for pouring.

  • For a breakfast treat, top crumble servings with granola, nuts or oat crumble.


Serving Suggestions for Apple Crumble


Apple crumble straight from the oven is delicious on its own, but you can also dress it up before serving. Here are tasty ways to serve your homemade crumble creation:

  • Top the warm crumble with a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla, cinnamon or butter pecan all complement the apples beautifully.

  • Drizzle with creamy French vanilla custard or rich crème anglaise sauce.

  • Serve each portion with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

  • Pour a splash of caramel sauce over individual servings for an indulgent treat.

  • Spoon sweetened plain Greek yoghurt over a warm crumble instead of cream or custard.

  • For an autumnal touch, top crumble with maple whipped cream.

  • Sprinkle crumble with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

  • Accompany crumble with a small pitcher of warm brandy butter sauce for pouring.

  • For a breakfast treat, top crumble servings with granola, nuts or oat crumble.


Pairing Apple Crumble with Other Desserts


While fantastic on its own, apple crumble can also be combined with other classic desserts for a delicious hybrid. Some sweet pairings to try:

  • Apple Crumble Cheesecake - Prepare an apple crumble in a springform pan. Top with a simple cheesecake filling before baking.

  • Apple Crumble Trifle - Layer crumbled pieces of apple crumble, vanilla pudding and whipped cream in a glass bowl for a no-bake treat.

  • Apple Crumble Milkshake - Blend ice cream, milk, crumbled bits of apple crumble and caramel sauce for a cool, creamy shake.

  • Apple Crumble Parfait - Alternate layers of homemade apple crumble, yoghurt and granola in glasses or jars for on-the-go breakfasts and snacks.

  • Apple Crumble Cupcakes - Stir crumbled apple crumble into vanilla cupcake batter before baking in liners, then top with buttercream icing.

  • Apple Crumble Cookie Sandwiches - Spread apple crumble filling between oatmeal cookies or gingersnaps for hand-held, tasty snacks.

  • Apple Crumble Brown Betty - Layer sliced apples, buttered bread crumbs and apple crumble topping in a casserole dish for a comforting spin.



Common Questions about Apple Crumble


If you're new to making apple crumble, you likely have some questions about how to get it perfectly crisp, saucy and delicious. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

 

Should I peel the apples?

Peeling is optional and comes down to preference. Peels add fibre, texture and apple flavour. If not peeling, wash apples thoroughly before using.

 

What thickness should I slice the apples?

Good options are thin 1/8-inch slices or 3/4-inch chunks. Thinner slices will soften more during baking while chunks stay firmer.

 

What's the best apple-to-sugar ratio?

Use 1 to 4 tablespoons sugar per 5 cups sliced apples depending on tartness. Taste a raw slice and add sugar gradually until balanced but not overly sweet.

 

How long does it bake?

About 40-55 minutes at 190°C (375°F) until the topping is browned and the apples are tender when pierced. Check at 40 minutes then watch closely.

 

Why is my crumble, not crispy?

Causes can be too much butter in the topping, overcrowded apples releasing moisture, baking at too low a temperature or not allowing to cool before serving.

 

Help, my crumble is too dry!

Quickly splash a few tablespoons of milk or cream over it and briefly return to the oven to moisten it up. Letting it cool will also improve texture.

 

Can I prepare it ahead of time?

Yes! Assemble raw crumble up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake. You can also cook, cool and store baked crumble for up to 5 days in the fridge.

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