Simple apple crumble topped with oats is a classic British dessert. Flavoured with cinnamon, and perfect served with cream, custard or ice cream, apple crumble is a wonderful pudding for any time of year.
I had one of those moments as a parent this weekend that almost made me cry with relief. I'm going to tell you about it even though I know it's going to sound ridiculous. My son ate a portion of apple crumble. He knew there was fruit in it. He asked for seconds.
This is a massive deal for us.
He has refused fruit since he was a toddler
When he was a baby he ate everything but since the age of around 18 months he has refused all fruit (and indeed most vegetables too). I can't really remember how this happened now. I remember him at 15 months tucking into Weetabix and banana - but not how we've ended up here.
It got progressively worse. He used to eat dried dates, bananas and apricots, but now only eats raisins. During his first week of pre-school the staff couldn't work out why he refused to go and join the other children at snack time. When I told them that he doesn't like fruit, and we made it clear to him that he wasn't going to be forced to eat fruit but could take a box of raisins instead, he happily joined the other kids.
This was a major source of stress for me for a long time. Eventually I realised that I wasn't helping the situation and it was best just to let him get on with it. We always have fruit on offer should he want to try some.
So he's still now tucking into bananas, strawberries and grapes. But this weekend's crumble success feels like a very good step in the right direction.In fact he ate two whole portions of apple crumble.
In the car on the way home (we'd been at granny and grandad's house) we talked about the fruit in the crumble. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: "So do you like fruit now?" R: "No, only when it's all mushed up." Me: "Oh, so it has to be cooked, not raw?" R: "Yes, cooked and mushed up, I won't eat it if you roar at it."
So there you go.
Using oats as a crumble topping
I like to add some oats to my crumble topping, which is not only delicious but also makes it a bit healthier too. Oats are a brilliant source of energy.
To use oats in your crumble topping follow these steps:
- rub together 175g plain or wholemeal flour and 125g butter or dairy free spread until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs
- stir through 100g brown sugar and 75g oats.
You can do this stage ahead and store your crumble topping in the fridge or freezer.
Do you need to cook the apples before making crumble?
I like to cook my apples before putting them into the crumble dish. This makes my kids more likely to eat them as they are lovely and soft.
However, if you're using cooking (Bramley) apples you can skip this stage if you prefer and put them straight in the oven. Some people like to add extra sugar to their cooking apples. I feel that there is enough sugar in the crumble topping but you can add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the apples if you prefer.
Eating apples are best cooked first as they will probably be too hard otherwise.
Can you freeze crumble?
Yes. I often freeze crumble. If you're making ahead it is better to freeze the crumble before baking it in the oven. It is also a good idea to freeze the crumble topping separately to stop it from going soggy.
However, leftover cooked crumble can still be frozen - the crumble topping will be softer but it'll still taste great.
I often make double the amount of crumble topping that I need. Freezing the rest saves me a job next time. Frozen crumble topping can be sprinkled straight over the fruit and baked.
Can you heat apple crumble in the microwave?
Crumble is best baked in the oven. However, I often reheat leftovers the next day in the microwave.
Place a single portion in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1-2 minutes. Ensure that it's cooled down before serving to children.
What to serve with crumble
Crumble is delicious on its own. However any of the following would be delicious alongside your oaty apple and cinnamon crumble:
- ice cream
- creme fraiche
More fruit crumble recipes
Pin simple apple and cinnamon crumble with oat topping for later
How to make simple apple crumble with oat topping
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Simple apple crumble with oat topping
- 1 kg cooking apples (around five) peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 175 g plain or wholemeal flour I like spelt flour
- 125 g dairy free spread or unsalted butter
- 100 g brown sugar
- 75 g oats
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/gas mark 4. Put your prepared 1 kg of apples in a pan with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just starting to go soft. This should take around 5-10 minutes. You may need to add a little water to stop it from sticking - just a few drops will do.
- Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish.
- Rub together 175g plain flour with 125g spread or butter with your fingertips (or in a food processor) in a mixing bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the 100g brown sugar and 75g oats and spread the crumble over the top of the fruit.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until brown on top.