My mother-in-law makes a great crumble, with a crunchy biscuit-y topping and soft tangy fruits like plums or apricots. If she was using a recipe I’d steal it from her but pinching butter into flour has become second nature to her and one is no longer needed. I envy her ability to whizz this dessert out of her sleeve and therefore have decided to find my own recipe and learn the science behind the crumble.
I love using blackberries partly due to laziness, just a quick rinse and they are ready to use, but also for the control they give me as they are so small. These juicy yet slightly acidic small bombs offer great balances to the sweet buttery dough and depending on my mood I’ll pop a few extra ones to make a slightly bigger dish.
I must admit that I still haven’t fully mastered the technique yet. For some people it’s a given gift, and from their first trial it’s a success. But it didn’t come naturally to me. I’ve over packed the topping resulting in a thick soggy crust, or I’ve pinched to butter into the flour to finely producing in a sandy, powdery topping. I’m still in search of the perfect, bulletproof method that would allow me to succeed every time so if you have any tips or recommendation please share with us.
Trial and error might just be the only way to learn though but here’s my little save-the-day trick if you’ve over-done it: add little bit of oat for a extra crunch. Should you have some at home, I recommend to always include it to the recipe, it creates a lovely texture. I usually have some around my kitchen in the winter when make my morning porridge.
The recipe below yields 1 serving, perfect for the solo cook, but feel free to double, triple even, the recipe and save the others in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.
- 125g Blackberries (about 15-18)
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Oats (optional)
- Turn oven on to 350F/180C.
- Wash and drains the berries and put in a small oven-proof dish. Topped with the sugar and Keep aside.
- In a separate bowl mix the brown sugar and flour. Rub butter into the flour mix using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb. Add the oats at the end if using any.
- Sprinkle lightly the crumble preparation over the blackberries and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the topping is golden and crunchy and the fruits have soften.
- Let it rest for ten minutes before digging in.
- Prepare the crumble before your diner. You should have plenty of time to enjoy you diner while it bakes.
- Replace the blackberries with any other fruits you might have at home: apples, pears, peaches, apricots. I really like tangy fruits as they create an interesting depth of flavours, but the classic apple crumble is delicious too.