I took my grandmother's great apple crisp recipe, added blackberries, a few other ingredients, and ended up with a wonderful dessert, full of flavor and super easy to make! Juicy fruit and buttery crumble, it doesn't get much better than that. And it can be frozen, of course!
This is the first post I ever published in this blog in February 2012. It has been updated with new text, images, and a tested, much better recipe.
Do you remember the first recipe you ever made?
I do, and it was the apple crisp (or crumble) that my father always requested. A very old-fashioned recipe that I tweaked and tested over the years.
Back then, there were no real measures. Watching was the way to learn. And writing everything down. We had recipe notebooks. Maybe 3 spoons of flour from a very old soup spoon, which was almost double the tablespoon measure we use now.
Well, this recipe is the result of those moments, and now it does have proper measurements, although it's a type of dessert can still be eye-balled with great results.
What is a fruit crumble?
Whether you call it a crumble or a crisp (both are widely recognized and we all know what type of dessert we're talking about) it refers to the addition of oats or not to the buttery topping.
But that is also up for discussion apparently. So let's wing it, shall we?
With so many recipes online and such a wide variety of languages, they are used interchangeably most of the time.
- The fact is that a fruit crumble or crisp needs to have a fruit layer and a streusel topping which involves at least a mixture of butter, flour, and sugar and can be upgraded by oats, spices, and nuts.
Very simple ingredients as usual.
- Apples: I like granny smith because of their acidity, but your favorite baking apple will work. Keep in mind that they might be sweeter.
- Blackberries: fresh or frozen work fine for this dessert.
- Orange: tangerine works well also and lemon can be used. I like the sweetness of orange and it goes really well with blackberries (remember the Blackberry Muffin Loaf?).
How to cut the apples
Watch the tutorial video above 👆🏻to see my favorite way.
I like to cut the apples in thin slices if using them raw, or thicker ones if cooking them before assembling the dessert (see below for details). But it is really a matter of preference.
You can also dice them as we do in the apple berry crumble.
How to prepare the apples
In my experience, there are two types of apple people: those who like crisper apples and those who like the softer apples. I vary between both haha depending on the recipe.
So, let's get clear on how to achieve both.
- Pre-cooked apples - you can put the apples, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the fruit softens and some juice is released and thickens. As the apples continue to bake they will soften a lot and turn more compote-like.
- Raw apples - simply mix the apple slices with the thickening ingredients in a bowl until it's all coated and dump onto the baking dish. Or mix it directly in the baking dish, it's messier but you don't have to wash an extra bowl. Even though the apples bake in the oven they will remain crisper and less sweet.
Serve it warm with a dollop of cream or ice cream on top. That will always be the best way in my opinion.
- Cream: poured cold directly from the container is the way we eat it at my house. Alternatively, whip some cold cream with sugar (find the recipe in the Black Forest Tarts post).
- Ice cream: good vanilla (or cream) ice cream will always be a crowd-pleaser! Butter pecan works wonders also.
Other recipes you might like:
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Whether you call it crumble or crisp, this is a wonderful dessert, full of flavor and super easy to make!
- 2 pounds (about 6 apples) peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges
- ¼ cup orange juice
- Zest of ½ an orange
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 cup blackberries, washed and dried (frozen work well, use directly)
For the crumble:
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ (150g) cup sugar
- ½ cup (110g) butter, cold
- Preheat the oven in 350ºF (180ºC).
- Butter a 9x9 inch (23x23 cm) glass or ceramic dish or 6 individual ramekins.
For the apples:
- Mix the apples with the orange juice, zest, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl.
- Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Alternatively, cook the above mixture on a saucepan over low/medium heat until apples start to soften and release some of their juice, about 5 minutes. Don't let them soften too much.
For the crumble:
- In a food processor, with the steel blade, put flour and sugar. Pulse once or twice.
- Add cold butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.
- In a bowl: or put the flour and sugar in a large bowl, add the cold butter pieces and with your hands or a pastry blender, mix until the butter is the size of peas.
- Put the apple mixture in the baking dish and top with the blackberries.
- Put the crumble mixture over the fruit. It will be very irregular and that is fine.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and berry juices bubble.
- Let cool until warm and serve with cream or ice cream.
- Or eat it plain, at room temperature.
Crumble: it can be made ahead and frozen for a month. Or refrigerated for several days.
Apples: if you want firmer apples use the first method of adding them directly to the baking dish. If you like softer apples cook them first. It's all explained in the recipe above.
Storing: it keeps at room temperature for 1-2 days, though I prefer to wrap and keep refrigerated. Warm it before eating at a 325°F (165°C) oven. It can be frozen, well wrapped, for a month.
Variations: blueberries work well instead of blackberries and lemon instead of orange.
Keywords: apple blackberry crumble, apple blackberry crisp