Crumble must be the easiest baked dessert out there. All you need is fruit (in this recipe I am using blackberries and apples) and a crumbly, rustic ‘lovingly-thrown-together’ crumble topping.
This was one of the first sort of desserts that I used to make when I was a girl. I remember back then I’d use wheat flour, refined sugar and margarine or butter to make the topping. Haven’t done it that way for a very long time though!
These days I use oats (or oatmeal/ground oats) instead of wheat flour. Oats offer a fabulous alternative to wheat. The wonderful thing is that if you are gluten-intolerant, by using gluten-free oats (which basically means they haven’t been contaminated with other gluten grains), you have an excellent substitute for wheat. Oats hold together really well and have a delicious texture and flavour.
Blackberries! My blackberries are always foraged. I tend only to eat them in season. I live in a rural area, where the hedgerows are brimming with them.
You can easily find them in health food stores and supermarkets though (fresh or frozen). If you don’t have blackberries available, just use raspberries, strawberries or something similar.
It’s a pretty versatile ‘pie’.
I am using a dash of rice syrup (maple syrup works well too) and coconut oil to bind the ground oats together.
You can cook your filling down to mush if you like, although I prefer mine a bit rustic. I like to leave the skins on my apples, to preserve some of that excellent nutritional value from right beneath the skin. Leaving on the skin works well if you are using sweet, organic, eating apples. If I use cooking apples the skins tend to be a bit tougher, so I would peel those.
In the recipe, I talk about cooking the fruit first. However, if you want the lazy version (as I often do), just toss in the fruit ingredients as they are. They might not ‘mush’ together in quite the same way, but they will certainly bake right through.
This is what my ingredients look like when I’ve cooked them for 10 minutes. Soft and dancing together – but you can still get a feel for whole pieces of fruit in there. If you like, just peel the apple skins, cook a little longer and mash down with your spoon for a more ‘compote’ type dish…
This dessert serves well with your favourite dairy-free yoghurt, ice-cream or cream (although I love crumble all by it’s wonderful self!). It’s serves hot, straight out of the oven or cold from the fridge (keeps for a few days).
OK let’s make this together…
- 6 sweet apples (medium sized)
- Big handful blackberries
- 2 - 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50g ( 1/2 cup) ground nuts or seeds (use your favourite sort)
- 150g (1 cup) oatmeal (ground oats)
- 3 tablespoons rice syrup (or use maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Chop the apples into small cubes.
- Cook apples, with blackberries and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, in a pan - for about 10 minutes. The small amount of water will be enough to help the cooking process (but not too much to create excessive amounts of juice). Mix regularly, but keep replacing the lid between mixing. At the end of the cooking period, mix in the cinnamon, coconut sugar and vanilla.
- In the meantime make the crumble topping.
- Melt the coconut oil and then mix all topping ingredients together until you create a crumble. This crumble should stick together when you press firmly with your fingers - that's when you know it is ready.
- Put the fruit filling in a baking dish and top with the crumble. Pat the crumble down gently to encourage a certain amount of 'holding together' with it.
- Pop into a pre-heated oven at gas mark 5 (375F/190C) and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately or serve cold (or both).
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