I love crumbles, with their buttery crumbly topping and gooey fruity base. Very often flavoured with cinnamon, which makes for the most delicious aromas while baking, they are perfect for when you want all the flavour of a fruit pie but don’t feel like going through the effort (and skill) of the whole pie hog. It’s a much easier way to satisfy that pie craving. So easy, in fact, that I made my first crumble when I was 12. I think it was a chocolate crumble. Not exactly a fruit, but delicious anyway!
The best part about crumbles is that they are a relatively low-intensity baked dessert, but have the potential to look much fancier. It’s a brilliant party dessert – for your own home or to take for a pot-luck. Just lift out serving portions from the baking dish and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream or vanilla custard.
The most popular kind would probably be apple crumble, but I’ve made crumbles with pears, strawberries, peaches, mango, chocolate – any firm or semi-firm fruit, berries, stone-fruit would make a great base to experiment with.
For the post, I thought I would share a strawberry version, before the strawberries go out of season. Currently, they’re flooding all the veggie vendors and I’ve been OD-ing on them – in smoothies, with cereal, on waffles, in cake and, now, in crumble!
Here’s what I used:
For the filling:
500 gm strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tbsp castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp maple syrup (you can use honey, or omit altogether)
1 tbsp Grand Marnier (you can use brandy, or omit altogether)
1 tbsp cornflour/arrowroot powder
For the crumble topping:
125 gms all-purpose flour (approx 1 cup)
50 gms instant oats (approx 1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
100 gms cold butter, diced
100 gms brown sugar (little more than a packed 1/2 cup)
Handful of almond flakes
Here’s how I made it:
I turned on the oven to pre-heat at 175 C and buttered an 8×8 overproof dish. I diced the cold butter and popped it in the freezer to chill some more.
I sliced the strawberries and placed them in a medium mixing bowl.
To these, I added the sugar, vanilla, maple & Grand Marnier, mixed it all up and let it sit while I got everything else ready. They will release their juices but that’s nothing to worry about.
In another bowl, I combined the flour, oats, cinnamon and baking powder. I whisked it well to ensure that the baking powder and cinnamon were evenly distributed amidst the flour and oats.
Adding the diced butter to the bowl, I used a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it was the size of small peas. Putting the blender aside, I used my fingers to rub and press the butter into the flour mixture until it resembled large flaky crumbs. You can use a processor if you like but these pressed butter-flour flakes are only possible when you use your fingers.
Either way, don’t overwork the mixture else the butter will become too soft. The more solid and chilled it is, the more crumbly and crisp the topping will be. I added in the sugar and mixed it all up. It is best to store this in the fridge/freezer until ready to use so that the butter remains solid.
Mixing the cornflour well into the strawberry mixture, I poured it into the prepared dish followed by the crumble topping and flaked almonds.
I popped it in the oven to bake until the topping was golden and strawberries bubbling, about 40-45 minutes.
It’s best to let the crumble cool and sit for about 15 minutes before serving. The strawberries become more jammy than soupy and all the flavours find a moment to mingle! Like they are guests at a party. Ha! Simply spoon some onto a serving plate and serve along with some ice cream, chilled double cream or vanilla custard.
And you’re done. Warm, jammy fruit topped with a crunchy crumble topping. So simple yet delicious.
Easy variation: Strawberry Crumble Bars
If you want the crumble to be more structured, simply double the topping ingredients. Then divide them in 2 halves. To one half, add 1 beaten egg, knead gently and press down into the bottom of the prepared dish. (If you’re a vegetarian and don’t eat egg, then use a few tablespoons of water or milk to bind the crumble instead of egg. Either way, don’t overwork the dough).
Spoon the filling on to this and then top with the remaining crumble topping. Bake as above. Cool and cut into squares. Done. Easy, pretty and pretty delicious!
Liked this recipe? You may like some of these other fruit-y desserts:
Strawberry Pie, Banana Mango Cake, Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Sponge Flan with Caramelised Plums, Apple Upside Down Cake, Amrood Kesar Kulfi
Same time, last year:
One Year Ago: Kashmiri Kahwah
Two Years Ago: Chewy Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks
Three Years Ago: Bread & Butter Pudding
Four Years Ago: Gaajar ka Halwa
- For the filling:
- 500 gm strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 3 tbsp castor sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (you can use honey, or omit altogether)
- 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (you can use brandy, or omit altogether)
- 1 tbsp cornflour/arrowroot powder
For the crumble topping:
- 125 gms all-purpose flour (approx 1 cup)
- 50 gms instant oats (approx ½ cup)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 gms cold butter, diced
- 100 gms brown sugar (little more than a packed ½ cup)
- Handful of almond flakes
- Vanilla Ice-cream / whipped cream / vanilla custard, to serve
- 8x8 Ovenproof Bake & Serve Dish
- Pastry Blender
- Mixing Bowl
- Pre-heat oven to 175 C and butter an 8x8 ovenproof bake-and-serve dish. Set aside.
- Dice the butter and place in the freezer until needed.
- Place the sliced strawberries in a medium mixing bowl along with all the other filling ingredients, except the cornflour. Mix well and set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl or large platter, place the flour, oats, cinnamon and baking powder. Whisk well to make sure baking powder and cinnamon are well distributed.
- Add the diced, chilled butter to this mixture and cut using a pastry blender until the butter becomes the size of small peas.
- Using your fingers, rub and press the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles large, flaky crumbs. Add the sugar and mix it in.
- Add the cornflour to the strawberry mixture and stir it in, making sure there are no lumps. Pour this into the prepared baking dish.
- Evenly top the strawberries with the crumble mixture and finally the flaked almonds.
- Bake until the topping is golden and the strawberries bubbling out, approx 40-45 minutes.
- Cool on the counter for 15 minutes before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
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