Apple-Blackberry Crumble and other Fruit crumbles Made EASY!
Also Apple-Blackberry crumble, apple crumble, blackberry crumble, peach crumble, etc. Any combination of your favorite fruits is possible. MMM! What a great tradition English dessert! Remember picking bramble berries from the lane and your mother's Bramley apple-blackberry crumble hot from the oven? No? Ok, how about your grandmother's? No? Talk about a deprived childhood! Ok, have you ever been in a bakery and smelled it there? Right! Now wouldn't you rather make your own for your children, to create that positive memory from childhood? It's actually so simple! It doesn't matter if you're not a chef or have never made an apple-blackberry crumble before! Following these illustrated directions ANYONE can cook a perfect apple, blackberry, peach or mixed fruit crumble for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any occasion! I'll demonstrate an apple-blackberry crumble, but the recipe works with almost any fruit; just use 4 cups in total, of the prepared fruit(s). And for those who are more familiar with crisps and cobblers: try this crumble! You'll probably prefer it! If you still would rather make Apple Crunch (my favorite), Apple Crisp or Apple Cobbler, click on the links!
- Fruit - 2 to 3 cups of washed, peeled, cored or pitted, apples, peaches, cherries and or blackberries . For apples, that will require about 8 medium or 5 large apples of fresh, sweet varieties: Best is Honeycrisp; it's sweet and juicy! After that: Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Jonathon. If you can't get any of these, then try McIntosh, Winesap, Rome, Bramley, Crispin, etc. If you are making peach crumble, you'll need about 8 peaches.
- About 1 cup sugar (you can substitute Splenda, if you would rather, in equal amounts)
- 1 cup flour (plain, all-purpose flour, white or whole wheat, as you prefer)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional - I don't add it, but some people are saltaholics and must add salt to everything...)
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup apple juice or water
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Step 1- Wash the fruit
Just wash them in cold water, no soap. We're going to remove the skins anyway, so don't spend too much time on it. You can remove any stickers that the grocery store put on the apples, though. Peelers often get suck on those.
Step 2 - Peel the apples and/or peaches
The fastest way to peel the apples is one of these peelers! With firm apples, it takes about 20 seconds per apple. These apple peelers don't work well on soft, mushy apples or apples with soft spots on them. In that case your stuck with a hand peeler!
Once they're peeled, remove any remaining brown spots (see the photo at left - before removing the blemishes.)
Same with peaches, if you are making peach crumble. Just peel them (you can dunk the peaches in boiling water for 45 seconds then into ice water, and the skins will usually slide right off)
Step 3 - Core and slice the apples (or pit and slice the peaches)
You can use a knife, but the $5 corer/slicer you see in the photo is
available at any kitchen store (Bed, Bath and beyond, Wal-Mart, etc.), and
is the fastest, easiest way. But any slices that are between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thick will do.
Remove seeds, stems, any hard parts near the seeds and and brown or soft spots. Chop the apples or peaches up a bit - don't get too carried away, you don't want mush.
Blackberries, loganberries, raspberries, etc. require no preparation, other than washing in cold water. If you want to remove the seeds, run them through a food mill or sieve. I use a Roma electric food strainer or a Foley food mill. Either quickly separates the juice and pulp from the seeds, stems and hard bits of blackberries and raspberries.
Step 4 - Lube up a round baking dish
But use butter, margarine or vegetable shortening to lightly grease a baking dish. Round, square, rectangular, whatever, the shape doesn't really matter. But it does need to be large enough to hold 2 quarts or more. A 9 inch diameter round by 3 inches deep pan is perfect.
Step 5 - Half cook the apples
Apples need to be softened by cooking them for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup water or apple juice. (Skip this step if you have no apples in the crumble).
Step 6 - Melt the butter or margarine
I just pop the 1/4 cup butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Step 7 - Mix the fruit and put in the pan
Add the blackberries or other soft fruits to the apples (if you are using apples) and mix gently.
If you are not using apples, add 1/2 cup of water or apple juice.
Optional: add 1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
Step 8 - Mix the dry ingredients
If you have a sifter, sift the 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of wheat flour, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
If you don't have a sifter, just use a whisk or fork. Actually, while I'm sure the sifter does a better job, I've never been able to tell a difference in the final product...
Add the sugar (or Splenda) and mix well by hand.
Pour the melted butter from step 6 into the mixture and mix it with a spoon or by hand.
Step 9 - Spread the topping over the fruit
Pour the batter over the fruit. It doesn't exactly "pour"? Well, dump it on the fruit. Then sort of spread it around a bit, so it's even. It should look a bit like the photo at right.
Step 10 - Bake
Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Step 11 - Done
Let it cool until you won't burn your mouth! Serve warm. Makes 8 servings for normal sized people. It's great with vanilla ice cream. (Like you needed to be told that...)