Apple and Berry Crumble is a mini version of the quintessential fruity British dessert, but sugar-free and grain-free. Treat yourself to this delicious dessert – or even breakfast! Serve with full-fat organic yogurt, créme fraîche, cream, warm custard, or ice cream. Instructions for a generous, family-size crumble are also given.
What more could you possibly want than this jammy-edged fruit crumble?
A meal completed with a fruit crumble is always welcome, isn’t it? But it feels nigh on obligatory at this time of year. Our senses – and stomachs – demand warming, comforting food. I know mine does.
I make versions of this faintly-sweet fruit crumble throughout the year. In the depths of winter it might feature uber-seasonal persimmons and cranberries, or frozen berries. For a summer sweet treat, I mulch down peaches and apricots to sticky-sweet goodness. Whatever fruit you add, the result is almost always absolutely fantastic. Even the most dessert-shunning among us will have a hard time turning down a serving of warm-from-the-oven fruit crumble.
Crumbles, crisps, buckles and cobblers
Today’s iteration is one that can be enjoyed whether on a lower-carb diet or not. Or if you are following a lower-carb way of eating, but your family isn’t. My taste testers (Andrew and his Mum, Ann) assured me this apple and berry crumble tastes just as lush as the crisp streusel crumbles of their childhoods. Although doubtless my accompaniment of cooly acidic créme fraîche would not have been offered. It was custard or nothing at all. I still think Andrew would prefer custard. Maybe next time, my love. 🙂
I grew up in Florida so the closest I get is a fruit crisp, which is nearly the same but always includes oats, and rarely nuts. And I also grew up with buckles, where a batter rises up around a fresh fruit middle. Here is my deeply fruity, lower-sugar and vegan Blackberry Buckle. And then there’s cobblers. Which is another thing all together. As the name suggests, the surface of a cobbler is cobbled, but with puffy dollops or cut squares of sweet non-yeasted dough.
All of the above desserts are easy to make. And always worth making. But really, a crumble is the one to prepare if time is short. Or when you just cannot wait for something sweet yet wholesome.
A traditional crumble will have flour, sometimes oats, maybe nuts, and definitely plenty of sugar. And butter. My Food To Glow Apple and Berry Crumble differs slightly, using low-carb brown sugar (I like Swerve or Sukrin brands) and almond flour. In fact the one you see is a little darker than you might expect. That’s because I used home-ground toasted pecan flour. But please just use almond flour. Or even the more commonly available, coarser, ground almonds. The taste difference is almost imperceptible when using such a small amount.
How to make a fruit crumble – the basics
Heat your fruit with a little sugar, a little spice and maybe some orange zest and juice until it breaks down. Pile it into a baking dish. Mix and squish together the topping to form buttery, nubbly “gravel” and sprinkle over the topping. Press it down a bit. Bang the fruit crumble in the oven, pulling out only when the topping is deeply golden and the fruit bubbles up around the edges. That is basically it!
What you need for apple and berry crumble
Fresh or frozen berries (a single kind or a mixture)
Low-carb brown sugar (such as Swerve or Sukrin) or regular brown sugar
Orange zest and a bit of juice
Optional psyllium or arrowroot – if you want more of a “pie filling” consistency
Ground almonds or almond flour
Ghee or butter (vegan block or spreadable is fine)
—- a pretty short list for one of my recipes, huh?—–
Variations to try
It really doesn’t matter whether you use fresh or frozen fruit in a crumble. Use whatever is cheap and in season. Or opt for the year-round ease and availability of frozen.
Plums – I froze plums from my tree and used them very successfully in a recent crumble. Fresh or frozen are fine, just chop a bit
Rhubarb – add a bit more sweetener if opting for this tart vegetable-that-thinks-its-a fruit
Cranberries – pair with apple or pear
Cherries – I use frozen sour cherries, and they are amazing.
With any fruit, mix and match for different flavour combinations, or keep it singular.
Can I make this as a family-sized fruit crumble?
Absolutely. Instructions are in the recipe card below. Of course you can scale up as you wish, but I’ve given specific measurements for ease.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Again, of course. If you are wanting to make it for eating later in the week, prepare it without baking. You can either put it all together, wrap up and refrigerate for up to four days. Or keep the crumble and cooked down fruit separate, assembling just before baking. In fact, making double or triple of the crumble and storing in the freezer for “crumble emergencies” is a strategy I’ve employed for years. I always have crumble topping in my freezer. Make sure to label it though so you don’t just think they are breadcrumbs. I speak from experience. 🙂
For eating beyond four days, what to do is bake it as described, cool completely then cover it in a double thickness of foil. Pop it into the freezer with a label. When it comes time to bake it you can defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until it is hot all the way through. To bake from frozen, do so with the foil on for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the fruit bubbles up. For heating a frozen family-sized fruit crumble add an extra 10 minutes to the under-foil baking, or until cooked and hot all the way through. It kind of depends on how deep the dish is though.
And, just to say that leftovers of the crumble reheat really well in a microwave, although you sacrifice a bit of the crumble texture. But only a little.
If you are looking for more fruity, warming desserts, why not check these out?
Plum-Berry Upside Down Cobbler – which is more of a buckle, tbh!
… and more in my rambling Recipe Index.
"Personal Pan" Apple and Berry Crumble (lower-carb and glulten-free)
A mini version of the quintessential fruity British dessert, but with a much lower carbohydrate count. Instructions for a family-size crumble also given.
- 100 g frozen or fresh blackberries or sour cherries, chopped plums or blueberries
- 30 g apple, chopped
- 1.5 tsp low-carb brown sugar or t tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp orange zest
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp orange juice or water; as needed only
- ⅛ tsp ground psyllium or arrowroot; optional for thickening
- 20 g pecan or almond flour toasted if you wish
- 4 walnut halves, chopped
- 1 tsp ghee (solid) butter or coconut oil (solid)
- 1 tbsp low-carb brown sugar or ¾ tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon scant measure
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F.
Add the berries, apple pieces, low-carb brown sugar, orange zest and cinnamon to a saucepan and heat gently. Cook - adding water or juice as necessary - until the apple breaks down a bit and softens. The timing and need for extra liquid will depend on the type of apple you use. Add in psyllium or arrowroot if liked to thicken a bit, but it shouldn't be necessary. I don't use them.
Add the crumble ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Use a fork or your fingers to mix together to a sandy-textured mixture. You should be able to squeeze it into small, dryish clumps. If not, add a little more ghee (not more than half a teaspoon).
Scrape the fruity filling into a small personal sized skillet or dish - or two ramekins. Crumble over the topping, pressing it between your fingers to make clumps as you add it - these bits are the tastiest once baked! Pop in the centre of your oven and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Serve on its own or with a dollop of ice cream, yogurt or créme fraîche.
Family-sized apple and berry crumble:
400-500g frozen or fresh "fruits of the forest" mixture, chopped plums, or all one berry
2 small apples, chopped
1.5 tbsp low-carb brown sugar
Zest of 1/2 orange plus a little juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g almond flour
1 tbsp sesame seeds
12 walnut halves, chopped
4 tbsp low-carb brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Instruction: Proceed as above, but use in a 10 x 7 inch pan, or thereabouts.
Need it suitable for a soft food diet? Whiz up all of the crumble ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper to the desired texture. And serve with plenty of cream.