- Food and Cooking
Best Ever Apple and Blackberry Crumble Recipe
How to Make Apple and Blackberry Crumble
Do you want to know the secret to the best ever apple and blackberry crumble recipe?
Is it the soft, tart, cooked apple mixed with the sweetness of ripe blackberries? Is it the golden crunch of a perfectly baked crumb topping, sweet but not too sweet?
Truth is, there are lots of elements to making a delicious fruit crumble. This was the first dessert I ever learned to make when I started cooking and baking from scratch, and it remains my favourite to this day. Not only is it delicious (more so than apple pie, in my opinion), but it is also incredibly easy (and pretty quick) to make.
So, if you fancy the idea of the most heavenly baking aroma drifting out of your oven, offering the promise of warm, soft fruit and crunchy crumb, then read on, and let me reveal my secret formula for the best ever apple and blackberry crumble!
Photo Credit: Apple and Blackberry Crumble by dichoheco, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
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Apple and Blackberry Crumble...
The Recipe I'm Famous For!
My fruit crumbles have always gone down well, but I recently made apple and blackberry crumble again for my soon to be mother-in-law (complete with homemade custard), and afterwards, she declared it was the best apple crumble she had ever tasted!
My parents came to visit not long after that, and my dad as always requested that I make the crumble and custard (it's his favourite!). They also agreed that it was the best ever!
Later I thought about what made these crumbles different to the ones I made originally. Not much had changed, other than the odd tweak here and there, but when I thought about it a little more, I realised what that something different was. I'll let you into the secret a bit further down the page... but first, here's my famous recipe!
Have you ever made Homemade Crumble?
Prep Time: 15-20 mins
Total Time: 55-60 mins
- 225 g white spelt flour (or plain flour)
- 110 g caster sugar (super fine sugar in the US)
- 175 g unsalted butter (chilled and cubed)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 small punnets of blackberries (around 300g) (washed)
- 2 -3 cooking apples (washed peeled cored and sliced)
- Extra caster sugar for the fruit and sprinkling on top
- To make the Crumble:
- 1. Add the flour, sugar and pinch of salt to a bowl and mix together. Add the cubes of butter
- 2. Using your hands, rub the butter into the mixture with the tips of your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Depending on how fast you work this can take 5-15 minutes. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, just so long as all the butter gets rubbed in!
- If you're making the crumble in advance, you can chill it now. It will keep for 2 days in the fridge (store in a bowl covered with clingfilm).
- To finish the Crumble:
- 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
- 2. Add the blackberries to a pie dish. I use a shallow pie dish (go for 7-9 inches in diameter)
- 3. Peel, core and slice the apples, and mix with the blackberries in the dish
- 4. Sprinkle some of the extra caster sugar over the fruit and mix up (if you find fruit sweet enough, then you needn't add any sugar. I only add a little myself)
- 5. Add the crumble (let it fall into the fruit and then make sure the majority covers all the fruit. Don't smooth down. Sprinkle with a topping of caster sugar (I use a little, as the fruit is sweet enough, but you may prefer a lot!)
- 6. Bake in the oven for around 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and you can see the fruit bubbling up through the crumble
- 7. Serve hot with ice-cream, custard or cream! To make this the truly best ever apple and blackberry crumble, make homemade custard to pour over it - see below!
- NB: This recipe is printable! For a photographic step by step version of this apple and blackberry crumble recipe, see further down the page. And to find out what makes this the best ever recipe, read about my secret formula below, too!
Quality Ingredients + Baking + Love = YUM
The Secret to my Best Ever Apple and Blackberry Crumble
This secret comes in two parts and it involves the above equation.
Okay, so the middle, baking part is no secret. You make, and you bake. So, on to the first part:
THE SECRET INGREDIENT
Ingredients play a huge part in successful baking. I recommend using organic fruit, for superior taste, and good quality baking ingredients. The key ingredient, for me, however, is the spelt flour. I originally made the crumble with normal plain flour, and it was delicious. But I then read about spelt flour in my favourite cookbook, Fay's Family Food by Fay Ripley (a British actress who, as it turns out, is one heck of a good cook!), and began looking for it in my weekly shop.
Spelt is one of the original heritage grains, one of the first grains to be grown in Britain by early farmers (as early, in fact, as 5000 BC!)
It is enjoying a recent resurgence in popularity as more and more people turn away from the over-processed and bleached modern wheat flours. It is often recommended to those who are wheat-intolerant as it is kind on the digestive system and contains less gluten than normal flour, but it is great for everyone because not only is it kind on the tummy (so great for kids, especially when they have stomach upsets) but it is also high in fibre, and contains more protein, simple and complex carbohydrates, and B-complex vitamins than wheat.
It is becoming more readily available in most British supermarkets (I buy Dove Farm Organic Spelt Flours from Ocado) and is also starting to be sold in North American health stores and groceries too.Factual source: Ripley, Fay. Fay's Family Food, Penguin Books, 2009
I have to say, now that I have started baking with spelt, there is no going back for me. Everything has a richer flavour, and the fact that it is nutritious and good for the tummy is a bonus! Since using it in this crumble, the result tastes even better. I highly recommend using this heritage grain in your baking too. Basically, use white spelt flour in place of plain white flour, and spelt flour in place of wholemeal flour. You can also turn spelt flour into self-raising flour too, by adding 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon of salt for every cup of spelt flour used in a recipe (sift the flour, salt and baking powder together a few times when mixing).
THE OTHER SECRET INGREDIENT!
So now to the last part of that magical equation - love! I hear you - you're kidding me, right? How can "love" make something taste any different? Well, I'll explain.
Those who are familiar with my work will know that I am a kitchen witch. This form of traditional hedgewitchery focuses less on formal rituals and spells, and more on nature, herbs, food and sacred living. When we cook, we bless our food and imbue it with our hopes, wishes, love and hard work. Our cooking is our spellcraft. We knead magic into our bread, and stir luck into our soup.
When I rub the butter into the crumble, I not only focus love into it, but I focus whatever blessing I wish to bestow upon my family and friends who are going to eat it. This could be anything from good health or good fortune to healing, or strength. When I place the fruit in the pie dish, I am thankful to the Goddess and Mother Earth for her bounty, and thankful to God for His blessings. When I construct my crumble and place it in the oven for baking, I do so with love, and a reverence for the Earth's harvest.
You can do this in small ways or large, regardless of your faith (or lack thereof). When we start baking for the first time, we tend to worry and stress about whether or not our recipes will be successful (I know I did!), but as we grow in confidence and allow ourselves to enjoy baking, we come to love what we do, You don't have to go so far as I do, with blessings and thanks, but you can create your crumble with love and enjoyment. Trust me on this... it will taste so much better!
This is another good reason to make crumble by hand, unless you are unable to do so due to an affliction such as arthritis, for example. Taking the time to rub in the butter properly allows you to contemplate what you are doing, and be thankful for your family and blessings. I sometimes suffer from cramp in my thumb when rubbing in butter (which began in pregnancy out of nowhere and has plagued me ever since) but I always try to do this by hand, using just the one good hand if necessary!
If you're interested in learning more about kitchen witchery and our ways of using food with blessing and ritual, you'll find more information on these pages:
Is Love the Secret Ingredient?
Do you think love is a secret ingredient in baking, or not?
How to Make Apple and Blackberry Crumble - Step by Step with PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Serve your Best Ever Apple and Blackberry Crumble... - ...and enjoy every mouthful!
Serve your crumble hot (or warm at least) with lashings of vanilla custard... yum! Why not try my other famous recipe, for proper Homemade Custard?
Alternatively, contrast the hot crumble with some cold vanilla ice-cream, or pour over some single (or double!) cream.
Will you try this Apple and Blackberry Crumble Recipe?
So, having read how to make this delicious crumble, will you be having a go?
Yummy pudding books that include crumble recipes!
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