Crumble recipes: 5 ways to make the ultimate autumnal dessert

Posted by for Food and Drink

Nothing says autumn like a fruit crumble. From a classic apple crumble with a twist to a luxurious banana and dulce du leche version, these simple and delicious recipes are ideal for chilly evenings and lazy Sunday lunches.

Now that autumn is in full swing, our tables are filling with dishes that make the most of the spoils of the season, from pumpkin soup to savoury pies. And when it comes to dessert, the ultimate autumnal dish is undisputed: crumble. Whether you prefer yours with apple, plums or pears, a warming bowl of caramelised fruit topped with a crunchy, buttery crumb is one of the UK’s most comforting culinary creations.

As much as we love an old-school recipe – and wholeheartedly approve of making good use of in-season fruit – there’s no reason why you can’t customise your crumble. Mixing oats or nuts into your topping, sprinkling in spices or adding a splash of cream to the fruit are just some of the ways you can take your favourite cosy pudding to new heights.

So as we find ourselves facing uncertain times ahead, we’re bringing you an extra helping of joy with five irresistible crumble recipes. The creamy apple crumble with an almond topping offers a rich twist on a traditional recipe, while the rustic plum crumble requires only a handful of ingredients to let the fruit really shine.

Think everything’s better with chocolate? The pear and chocolate crumble is a delicious take on a much-loved combination of ingredients. The apricot and pistachio crumble makes for a delightfully golden dish, while the banana and dulce de leche recipe is a luxurious variation that will satisfy anyone with a seriously sweet tooth.

All that’s left to do is decide whether to serve yours with ice cream, custard or a dollop of double cream…

  • Creamy apple crumble

    creamy apple crumble recipe with almonds

    Serves 6

    Ingredients

    For the crumble:

    • 100g plain flour
    • 100g unrefined cane sugar
    • 100g flaked almonds
    • 100g cold salted butter, cubed

    For the fruit:

    • 1kg apples
    • 3 eggs
    • 150ml milk
    • 150ml single cream
    • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Put the flour, sugar, flaked almonds and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter into the other ingredients rapidly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Chill.

    Peel the apples. Quarter them, remove the pips then cut each quarter in three.

    Beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk, cream and vanilla sugar. Arrange the pieces of apple in a gratin dish, pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle with the crumble. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden.

    Ideal serving temperature: warm. No accompaniment necessary.

    From Crumbles: Over 30 Sweet And Savoury Recipes by Sabrina Fauda-Role (£8.99, Hardie Grant), out now

  • Simple plum crumble

    Serves 4–6

    Ingredients

    • 8–10 ripe plums (you could also use yellow plums, greengages or mirabelles – they will all be delicious)
    • 4–5 tablespoons sugar
    • chilled cream, to serve

    for the crumble topping:

    • 75g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    • 175g plain flour
    • a pinch of salt
    • 50g caster sugar

    You’ll also need

    a medium ovenproof dish, butttered

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and put a baking tray on the middle shelf to heat.

    Halve the plums and remove the stones. Cut the halves into quarters if they are very large. Toss them with the sugar and tip them into the prepared baking dish.

    To make the crumble topping, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour with the salt until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively do this in a food processor. Stir in the sugar.

    Lightly scatter the crumble topping over the plums. Place the baking dish on the hot baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes, until golden brown.

    Remove from the oven and serve warm with cream.

    Tip: Plums have such a rich flavour when they are cooked that they need little or no other flavourings with them, except perhaps a pinch of cinnamon. For a special treat, toss the uncooked plums in a little damson or sloe gin.

    From Cinnamon, Spice and Warm Apple Pie: Over 65 Comforting Baked Fruit Desserts (£9.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now

  • Pear and chocolate crumble

    pear and chocolate crumble recipe

    Serves 6

    Ingredients

    For the crumble:

    • 100g plain flour
    • 80g unrefined cane sugar
    • 50g ground hazelnuts
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 60g cold salted butter, cubed

    For the fruit:

    • 4 large ripe pears (1 kg)
    • 1 knob of salted butter, cut into small cubes
    • 50g dark chocolate, chopped

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Put the flour, sugar, ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter into the other ingredients rapidly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Chill.

    Peel and core the pears then slice them finely or cut into small chunks.

    Arrange the pears in a gratin dish, dot with small cubes of butter followed by the chocolate and sprinkle with the crumble. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden.

    Ideal serving temperature: cold. No accompaniment necessary.

    From Crumbles by Sabrina Fauda-Role, out now

  • Banana and dulce de leche crumble

    banana crumble with dulce du leche

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 80g plain flour (or use wholemeal or spelt)
    • 40g light brown soft or demerara sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 100g cold unsalted butter, diced
    • 30g rolled oats
    • 4 large ripe bananas, peeled and thickly sliced
    • 120g dulce de leche
    • 30g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
    • double cream, ice cream or crème fraîche, to serve

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

    Make the crumble topping. Combine the flour, sugar, pinch of salt and butter in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the oats (alternatively, pulse the mixture in a food processor until just combined).

    In an ovenproof dish, combine the banana, dulce de leche, and the nuts (if using). Scatter with the crumble topping, then sprinkle over a few drops of water.

    Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and the mixture beneath is bubbling at the sides.

    Remove from the oven and serve warm.

    From Home Cookery Year: Four Seasons, Over 200 Recipes for All Possible Occasions by Claire Thomson (£30, Quadrille), out now

  • Apricot and pistachio crumble

    apricot crumble recipe with pistachio topping

    Serves 6

    Ingredients

    For the crumble:

    • 120g plain flour
    • 100g unrefined cane sugar
    • 100g ground pistachios or finely chopped pistachios
    • 100g cold salted butter, cubed

    For the fruit

    • 1.5 kg apricots

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Put the flour, sugar, pistachios and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter into the other ingredients rapidly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Chill.

    Rinse and dry the apricots. Cut them in half and remove the stones.

    Arrange the apricot halves in a gratin dish and sprinkle with the crumble. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden.

    Ideal serving temperature: warm. Serve with vanilla or pistachio ice cream.

    From Crumbles by Sabrina Fauda-Role, out now

Photography: Sam Folan; © Akiko Ida; © Ryland Peters & Small

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.