Mum’s rhubarb and apple crumble is the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. It’s a simple recipe that includes rolled oats in the topping. Rolled oats, with butter and brown sugar and flour. Now that I understand more about the history and evolution of food, I’d say that the rolled oats in the topping and I are related. We’re related by Scottish ancestory. Mum was an Andrews.
There’s a couple of ways I make the fruit filling for the crumble, but I always use mum’s crumble topping; this is the one we ate at home as kids.
For the Topping
In all honesty, while I don’t remember ever measuring the ingredients, here’s my attempt to recreate with measurements. There are four ingredients butter (125g or 4oz), brown sugar (1/2 cup), plain flour (1 cup), rolled oats (1 cup).
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter. Stir, and loosely sprinkle on top of the fruit mixture.
After a hint from Chef Luke Mangan, I’ve recently created a ‘friends to dinner’ variation by adding little chocolate nuggets (I used dark chocolate roughly chopped) to the crumble topping mixture. It really is a delicious extra layer of complexity, and the chocolate works really well against the oats.
If I’m not using the chocolate, I sometimes add ground cinnamon (goes well with apple), or ground ginger (works well with peaches) depending on the fruit of choice.
For the Fruit
I really like my rhubarb and apple, gooey and scrumptious, so I usually cook this combination of fruit stovetop before adding the fruit to a greased oven proof dish.
I like to add two apples (peeled, cored, sliced) to a bunch of rhubarb and add 1/2 cup raw sugar to the mix. I wet it with a little water (and if I’m feeling lush change this to red wine). Then cook until its melted.
One variation is to change the apples to oranges (chunks of peeled fruit) and cook in orange juice. If you like you can add orange rind.
Or use quince instead of the rhubarb with the orange or apple.
After cooking stovetop, place the fruit a greased oven proof dish and cover with the crumble topping. Cook about 30 minutes in a moderately hot oven if the fruit is still warm to hot when the crumble is added.
Alternatively place the fresh fruit in the oven proof dish and cover (lid or foil) and cook down a little before adding the crumble topping.
My favourite combination is peach with blueberry. I just skin and slice the fresh peaches and sprinkle with blueberries then the topping. No other additions, no sweetening and no prelimary stovetop cooking. The colours as well as flavours of this dish are delightful! Let this one cook around 45 minutes starting in a moderate oven, and turn up the heat the last 10 minutes.
Try clotted cream, custard, ice-cream, cream chantilly, or mascarpone (as suggestions) on the side.
Crumble is one of my favourite comfort foods. It’s warming to the heart as well as the tummy in winter. In summer, I still serve crumble (with a change of seasonal fruit) and serve it at room temperature or cold.