Every year at around this time, I endeavor to make a perfect apple crumble that lives up to my expectations of fallish flavors and relative ease so far as desserts go. In fact, before the season’s up I usually make several, the first of which is not quite right and a few more that are only marginally better. I typically make them from memory, relying on appoximations of proper butter to flour ratios and wholly skipping certain ingredients because I’ve forgotten about them over the past year. None of that is very encouraging, so I told myself that this fall I would finally settle on an actual recipe that warrants the remaking.
Here it is, recorded on these tea leaves for my future reference and yours.
I riffed on a recipe from Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson’s Rustic Fruit Desserts in part because Cory happens to be married to the sister of my dear brother-in-law and what a treat that is, and in part because a book with such a title suggests that those two know a thing or two about making apple crumble.
The original recipe calls for apples and cranberries, but because we’re in that delicious in-between time where the nights are cool but the days are still warm, I added blackberries to my crumble as a kind of farewell to summer. I’ve made a few adjustments to account for the swap in fruit, and a few to account for my general laziness.
Apple Blackberry Crumble
adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts
For the topping:
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
8 large apples (I used 1/2 honey crisp, 1/2 gala, and 8 instead of 10 so they would fit into my baking dish)
A dash or two of lemon juice
6 oz (or therabouts) blackberries (I used frozen blackberries. But fresh would be delightful if you’re anywhere where you can still find them.)
1 cup granulated sugar (The original recipe calls for an extra 1/3 cup of sugar, but because blackberries are sweeter than cranberries, I left that bit out.)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
A healthy sprinkling of ground cinnamon (The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons if you prefer to follow instructions.)
1. To make the topping, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, sea salt, and melted butter in a large bowl. I used salted butter because it’s what we had. This is probably not what a proper baker would do, but I am not a proper baker. The melting of the butter is absolute key. It will make this dessert and every variation you make ever after.
2. After the topping is mixed, pop it into the freezer to firm up while you prepare your filling.
3. Peel, core, and slice your apples into evenly thick chunks or slices. (I pulled out my apple peeler/corer to prepare mine. A good thing to remember if you’re using such a device: the peeler takes a bit of adjusting to get the peel to be the right thickness. One can end up with nothing but a peel if one is not careful. More about storing superfluous kitchen items here.) I sprinkled a bit of lemon juice on my apples so they didn’t brown too much while I
hopped around taking pictures chopped.
4. Combine apples, blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and dump into a buttered baking dish.
5. Press the chilled topping evenly over the top of the fruit and slide the dish into a preheated 375° oven for 60 to 70 minutes. You’ll want your crumble to be nice and golden on top and the fruit inside to be soft. If your topping begins to brown too much before the hour mark, cover the top with a bit of foil to prevent burning.
More apple-y stuff if you’re in the mood.