Old Fashioned Apple Oat Crumble


Apple crumble is the stalwart dessert of Old English cooking. It’s hearty, warming and with this version deliciously aromatic. I love the apple slightly spicy and generally don’t sweeten them (unless they’re the green, tart kind). I also stew the apple prior to baking as this stops the dreaded drying out – the bane of any good crumble. To make it extra special I cook them in my favorite spicy herbal tea with some cinnamon and orange juice. Yum.

Before making the crumble I scanned the net looking for the best oaty topping (and yes, a good real crumble, according to my British dad should have oats). I couldn’t find any recipe I really and truly loved. Some had too much sugar, others were oily with butter. So I went with my gut instinct, some intense taste testing and the feel of the crumbs beneath my fingers to make this topping. And.. it worked! The crumble was moist, golden and not too sinful.

For Apples
4 medium size apples
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
Herbal Tea
1 tbsp orange juice

For Crumble
75g wholemeal flour
75g rolled oats (not instant)
15g raw sugar
30g brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
50-75g butter
squeeze of lemon juice


You can make the apple mixture well in advance. I made it this morning in between yoga classes and breakfast. Firstly peel, core and cube 4 medium sized apples.

Put them in a small pan with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of orange juice – make sure they’re all covered with this.

Then go to the cupboard and grab your favourite herbal tea. I have one with cardamon pods, cinnamon, lychee berries and it is divine. Put the ‘tea leaves’ into one of those metal strainers which you can close up (or just grab some herbal teabags) and bury them amongst the apple.

Cover the apples with the boiling water and put a lid on the pan. Bring to the boil for a couple of minutes, then turn down to a simmer for twenty minutes. You want the apple to be soft, but not mushy. When it’s done take out the tea and put aside until you want to make the crumble.

To prepare your crumble simply put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cube 50g of the butter and with your fingers work it into the gritty flour and oat mix. You want it crumbly beneath your fingers. If you like the crumble topping more buttery add the extra 25g of butter and work in, otherwise you can leave it out and be healthyish. When it resembles oat like breadcrumbs squeeze over a bit of lemon juice and mix it in (this is barely tastable when cooked but matches the apple beautifully). Then put the crumble mixture in the freezer for 15-25 minutes until chilled.

About 15-20 minutes before you want to eat the crumble, dish the stewed apple with all its juices into a butter-rubbed baking dish – I have a small squarish one I love to use (no idea of the actual size). Finally, grab the crumble out of the freezer and sprinkle evenly over the top. I like to use my fingers to make some larger lumps of crumble and sit on top, going deliciously golden.

Bake in a medium oven of 180C/350F for 10-15 minutes or until golden (you might want to turn the grill on for an ‘oh so brief’ moment). Sprinkle with icing sugar mixed with cinnamon to serve.

Source: Me (yay, my first honest to goodness, highly indebted to the past recipe).

Best cooked to… well no music this time because there was aa fascinating program about organic farming on the radio (which partially inspired me to own chickens and live in the middle of nowhere).


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