When life gives you fresh fruits, is there anything more deliciously-gratifying than baking them into a crumble?
The beauty of this dessert is of course in its cosy simplicity. Tender fruits singing with flavours and crowned by a streusel-like topping with a crisp and buttery crumb. I bake mine with a healthier ratio of fruits to crumble, using just about the right quantities of brown sugar and jaggery to add a caramelised touch, whilst letting the natural sweetness of the fruits shine through.
I’ve also taken to baking crumbles in ramekins, so they’re individually portioned. No squabbles over the last bite, no risk of over-eating and most importantly for me, no leftovers in the fridge – leaving me free to bake a fresh one the next day! The recipe below makes four individual servings, but you could always double it up if you would prefer to set in a larger baking dish.
Of course, as with most recipes on TFD, this one is open to adaption in more ways than one. You could fill your dish with more fruit, a combination of fruits, or alternatively double the crumble if you fancy more of a crusty bite. If you’re baking an apple crumble, pre-toss your diced apples with a pinch of warming spices (a dash of nutmeg is never amiss!), or even swap the unrefined sugars mentioned below with your preferred choice of sugar. The options are truly endless once you nail the classic formula!
For the filling
- 2-3 large pieces of your chosen fruit; if you are baking a berry crumble, about 1 cup of fresh berries should do. (You can always add more fruit if you prefer your crumble to be more fruity than crumbly).
- 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 – 3 tbsp brown sugar (note that you can adjust the quantity of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit; other sugars from castor sugar to healthier coconut sugar, will also work)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
FOR THE CRUMBLE
In its classic form, crumble topping is essentially a combination of sugar, flour and butter. Again, you can always experiment with your choice of sugar; I love jaggery for its caramel-like quality, not to mention that it’s also relatively healthier. Adding a warming touch of cinnamon is never amiss either for a cosy finish,
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup jaggery (alternatively, you could use brown sugar, packed)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Make the fruit filling. Peel, pit, dice or slice your fruit as appropriate into bite-sized chunks (taking care to remove seeds or other inedible parts). Toss your fruit in a mixing bowl with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla extract, until the fruit pieces are evenly coated. You can always taste-test a small piece and adjust the sweetness as required.
- Prepare the crumble topping. Whisk together the flour, jaggery (or your choice of sugar), cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Cut the butter into little pieces and add it to the dry flour mixture, using your fingers to mix until crumbly. When baking chunkier or juicier fruits such as peaches, I’m careful not to over-mix so that the crumble shapes up in large, heavier clusters to add a complementary texture.
- Prepare the ramekins. Distribute the fruit filling between the ramekins, spreading a layer of crumble evenly over the fruit.
- Bake the crumble for anywhere between 20-30 minutes, until it has a firm golden-brown top and you can see the fruit filling bubbling around the edges. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let them cool before serving/ tucking in!
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