I have a confession to make:  if I am in a restaurant and have a choice between a chocolatey dessert and one that’s fruity – particularly if it’s a crisp or crumble – I’ll go with the fruit dessert.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Now, I know this makes me a heretic in the eyes of some folks – no chocolate mousse?  no chocolate lava cake?  not even a triple chocolate brownie??!!  But, I can’t help it.  There’s something so homey, so comforting, and just so absolutely delicious about fruity desserts (especially those served with a big scoop of ice cream), that I just can’t help myself. 

My favorites are crumbles or crisps – the combination of the sweet or tart/sweet bubbly inside with the crunchy topping knocks me out every time.  And crumbles work so well with so many different fruits – apples, plums, berries, rhubarb – s’all good! 

However, there is one thing that’s critically important to me:  I don’t really go for half measures.  I like a good, substantial crumbly bit on top.  In fact, when I just get a measly 1/8th of an inch of a flour/sugar/butter mixture, I feel cheated.  The best kind of crumble should have texture to it (helloooooo oats!) as well as add a little spicey warmth and, let’s be blunt here, there should be plenty of it! 

So, here it is – my all-time favorite dessert – and one that’s so quick and easy, I hope it gets added to your repetoire, as well.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

  • 6-8 apples, peeled, cored and diced (use a mix of different types to get a nice blend of flavors) – OR, substitute a peeled, cored and diced pear for one of the apples
  • 2 cups frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 6 oz butter, chilled in freezer
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Make the topping first so that the apples won’t sit too long and brown.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, both sugars and spices, then toss well to thoroughly combine.  Take your butter from the freezer, grab a cheese grater and grate the butter into the flour mixture in thirds, stopping to incorporate the butter as you go.  Once all the butter has been grated, toss well to make sure everything is evenly combined and set aside while you assemble the filling.  Lightly butter a 9×11″ casserole dish and tumble in the apples and blackberries, tossing well.  Pour the crumble over the top and spread evenly, then – and here’s the key – press down firmly.  That’s what seems to be the key to making a nice, crisp topping.

Pop into the oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour until lightly browned on top and bubbly on the edges, then serve in a bowl with a huge scoop of ice cream or a healthy pour of creme anglaise.