Recipe: Apple and Berry Crumble

This is my favourite weeknight dessert.  It’s hot and fruity and tastes healthy and the leftovers are lovely for breakfast.  And it makes heaps, which means you have breakfast for *days* afterwards.  It’s not really a standard crumble recipe – I think it started off as my mum’s recipe and then developed all the Anzac Biscuit sort of elements in a bid to convince Andrew to eat fruit crumble.  Andrew now claims he always liked fruit crumble, but that’s not what he told me when I first tried making it for him eleven years ago.  I think what he actually meant is that he doesn’t like the kind of fruit crumble people write recipes for, which means that he’s pretty safe because this is definitely not how most people make fruit crumble.

You see, while I make this crumble about once a week,  never make it the same way twice and I never measure anything.  This is a problem, because people ask me for my crumble recipe probably more often than they ask for any other recipe I’ve made, and I don’t know what it is.  Tonight I actually resorted to weighing the boxes containing things like oats, flour, sugar, golden syrup and so forth before and after making the recipe, and then finding the difference.  And then when it was all done and in the oven I realised I had forgotten the almond meal (which was not something that used to go into this recipe, but has become a frequent and valued participant of late), so I’ve guessed that part…  So this is not a perfect recipe, but it is probably as good as I’ll ever get it. If you’ve ever asked me for my crumble recipe, this is a good starting point.

Your shopping list

2 kg apples (a mix of cooking and eating apples is nice)
50 g raw sugar
250 g berries – I used strawberries today, but blueberries, raspberries or blackberries all work.
75 g butter
100 g golden syrup
50 g flour
50 g brown sugar
100 g almond meal
300 g rolled oats

Now what will you do with it?

Put the raw sugar into a saucepan.  Peel and roughly chop the apples, and add to the saucepan.  I switch the heat on to low and add the apples as they are ready, so that by the time the last apples go in, some of the first ones are mostly cooked.  That’s fine.  You’re aiming for most of the apples to be mostly cooked, but it’s nice to have some texture.

Incidentally, the trick is to cook the apples on low heat and covered, and not to add water – if you keep the heat low, the sugar will melt into syrup and the apples will start releasing their juices without anything burning.  If you have the heat higher, you have to add water to avert disaster, and then you end up with apple soup.

Wash and if necessary chop your berries and put into the bottom of a casserole dish.  Add the apples.

Using the saucepan you cooked the apples in (why add to your washing up?), melt the butter with the brown sugar and golden syrup over medium heat.  Add the flour and almond meal and stir vigorously, then the oats.  The aim is to get the oats coated with the syrupy mixture – sometimes you need to add more syrup or butter.

When everything is well mixed, plonk it on top of the apples in the casserole dish and spread around.

Bake at 180°C for about half an hour until browned.  Serve with icecream for dessert or with yoghurt the next day for breakfast (hey, it’s mostly oats and fruit – how can it not be healthy?).


Any fruit in the world.  Really.  I do this with apple and rhubarb, pear and rhubarb, apple and tinned apricots, tinned anything, reconstituted dried fruit, sultanas or raisins added to the apples during the stewing, fresh plums, frozen or tinned berries – whatever you like.  Tinned fruit means no cooking time for the fruit, so it’s very easy, but it can be a bit bland, so think about adding some spices or vanilla, and use a range of different kinds of fruit.  Think about adding spices anyway.  I like adding my Viennese Christmas Spices, but then, I would.

This recipe veganises like a dream with Nuttelex, and is already egg free and probably moderate GI.  You can skip the ground almonds and add more oats to make it nut free, or you can use the crumble topping from the rhubarb crumble with gluten free flour to make it gluten free, but if so, I’d double or triple the topping amounts.

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4 comments for “Recipe: Apple and Berry Crumble

  1. September 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I feel like an apple and berry crumble at the moment – it is just the right weather between winter and summer to want both apples and berries – must try this!

    As for recipes that you always make differently, I have a few on my blog that I think is the definitive version and then I make it again and change something else – that is the joy of recipe evolution and is always interesting to see how it appears on blogs

    • September 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, they really do evolve! This is a particularly hearty version and probably feeds 8 people, but the leftovers reheat well.

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