Michelle Darmody: Three simple and heart-warming crumbles

Crumbles are quite uncomplicated and adaptive. Most fruits will work and the topping can be diversified and added to as you wish.
Michelle Darmody: Three simple and heart-warming crumbles

Michelle Darmody

For something that was created out of necessity, crumbles are a joy. The recipe or idea for them surfaced during the Second World War in Britain, when rationing made eggs and other pastry ingredients rare. Wholemeal flours and oats could be used in their place. Because of the simplicity of its origins, crumbles are quite uncomplicated and adaptive. Most fruits will work and the topping can be diversified and added to as you wish. A friend of mine makes a banana and pineapple crumble and adds desiccated coconut to the topping. It is an interesting twist.

Lavender and blackberry are a surprisingly nice flavour combination. I often stir some lavender flowers through blackberry jam to pep it up. Rosemary also works in place of lavender. They both have a similar flavour as they are bushes which have the same family origin.

I like to add nuts to the crumble topping for added crunch and texture — they also lend flavour, especially in the case of the almonds. If you really enjoy a strong almond flavour you can add a drop or two of almond essence into the crumble mixture or the fruit below.

If you prefer a crisper texture to your crumble you can spread the topping on a large flat baking tray and bake it for about 15 minutes before patting it down over the fruit. This dries out the oats and the final texture will be crunchier, like a granola topping.

Whatever fruit or combination of fruits you use, a crumble provides a heart-warming bowl of comfort after a meal or as an afternoon snack.

Blackberry and lavender crumble

 

Ingredients

 

  • 120g plain flour
  • 50g coarse wholemeal flour
  • 130g cold butter, roughly cubed
  • 30g muscovado sugar — and a little extra for sprinkling
  • 60g porridge oats
  • 50g cashew nuts, chopped
  • 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 150g blackberries, cored
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tsp edible lavender flowers
Method

 

 

 

 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Beat together the flour, butter and sugar until the mixture forms crumbs. Stir the nuts and oats into the crumble mixture.

Toss the apples and blackberries in the honey, then stir in the lavender flowers.

Place the fruit mixture into four (or six) miniature ovenproof dishes — I use small round ones.

Top each dish with your crumble mix. I tend not to press it down too much as I like the fruit to bubble through. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over each one if you like. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.

 

Apricot and almond crumble

Ingredients

 

      • 100g plain flour
      • 70g wholemeal flour
      • 90g golden caster sugar
      • 110g cold butter, cubed
      • 50g porridge oats
      • 60g almonds, finely chopped
      • 550g apricots, destoned and sliced
      • 2 tbs amaretto
      • ½ tbs muscovado sugar for sprinkling

 

Method

 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

 

Stir the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like rough bread crumbs. Stir in the porridge and the chopped almonds.

 

Toss the slices of apricot in the amaretto and lay them into an ovenproof dish. Scoop the crumble mixture on top and pat it down. Sprinkle the muscovado sugar on top and add some chopped almonds if you wish.

 

Bake for about 35 minutes until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Allow to cool and serve while still a little warm.

 

Plum and white chocolate crumble

 

Ingredients

 

      • 120g plain flour
      • 50g wholemeal flour
      • 90g golden caster sugar
      • 110g cold butter, cubed
      • 2 tbs porridge oats
      • 60g white chocolate chips
      • 450g plums, destoned and sliced
      • 100g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
      • 1 tbs honey

 

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

 

Stir the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like rough bread crumbs. Stir in the oats and white chocolate.

 

Toss the slices of plum and apple in the honey and lay them out in an ovenproof dish. They should be about an inch from the top of the dish. Scoop the crumble mixture on top and pat it down.

 

Bake for about 35 minutes until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Allow to cool and serve while still a little warm.

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