Happy Autumnal Equinox! Yesterday we officially entered autumn: the leaves have started to turn and harvest is in full swing. In other words, it’s the perfect time to make apple crumble!! Last weekend my boyfriend and I went out to orchard country, south of Montreal to a region called the Monteregie, where we stayed at a 200-year old orchard inn at the foothill of Mont Saint Hilaire. It was a beautiful getaway, and we came back with the most deliciously sweet Galas. One of my most favourite things to make with apples is crumble. It is simple, quick and always amazing. It also keeps really well in the freezer, and is easy to defrost in the oven.
Making a crumble crust only really requires 3 ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. With those 3 ingredients you can make a whole slew of crumble varieties: delicate sandy crumbles, caramel-y crumble, spiced crumble, gluten-free crumble. My personal favourite is a crunchy oat crust. Here is a fool-proof recipe I have used for years that is sure to impress, but that you can whip up in ten minutes.
This recipe is enough for two eight inch pans of crumble. You can use apples, pears (or a mix of both as I did here), rhubarb (always sugar the ‘barb first though), blueberries, strawberries, cherries etc. etc. Mixing berries is always good.
- 3/4 Cup oats. Try to use old fashioned oats, not quick oats.
- 3/4 Cup flour. You can use gluten-free flour. Ideally use unbleached flour.
- 1 Cup brown sugar. This seems like a lot of sugar, but it is what makes the crumble a crunchy shell.
- 1/2 Cup cold butter, cut into cubes. If you are using un-salted butter, add 1 Tsp salt as well.
- Cinnamon to taste. About 1/2-1 Tsp.
Mix the dry ingredients quickly before adding the cubed butter and then work with your pastry blender or by scissoring two knives, like this:until the butter is well integrated and pea-sized crumbs appear, about 5-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it appears a bit dry, moisture from the fruit and butter will mix through the crumble and the sugar will caramelize. Put the crumble into the fridge while you prepare your filling.
You will need 3-4 apples and/or pears for each pan, depending on how thick you want your filling. If you are using organic fruits, you can keep the skins on.
Core and slice your fruit thinly, toss directly in the pan with a bit of sugar and a dash of cinnamon.
Pour the crumble over the fruit, and spread it loosely over your filling. Don’t pack it down.
Don’t feel bad if you end up eating the whole pie 😉