When the winter months roll around, the idea of a warm bowl of crumble, cobbler or crisp – preferably paired with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or drizzle of cream or custard – becomes more appealing than ever. Team your dessert with a good movie, a cosy couch and a blanket, and you’re set for the ideal winter’s evening.
Whether you like a classic apple crumble with a touch of cinnamon, a super sweet stone fruit creation, a tangy rhubarb or berry dish, or perhaps a savoury crumble to top a gratin, there are a number of easy ways you can ensure your crumble tastes its best and crunchiest:
- Balance your flavours: if you’re using a particularly sweet fruit in your base, like strawberries for instance, your crumbly top mixture can be a little less on the sweet side. Reserve sugary tops for more bitter or sour ingredients like rhubarb, which can do with a little sweetness to balance things out. A little sprinkling of brown or other dark sugars can create a nice caramelised crumble, if you prefer a sweeter bite.
- Spice up your life: don’t be afraid to add a little cinnamon, star anise or nutmeg, for example, to your crumbles. Just keep tasting as you sprinkle your spices in, to avoid overstepping the mark. For savoury crumbles, you can try adding your favourite dried herbs and savoury spices too.
- Add extra crunch: if you’re a fan of nuts, add some baking-style nuts, like walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts to your topping mix. Just make sure you chop them up or crush them a little first, to keep a nice consistency. You might also like to include some oats for extra texture – be it a sweet or savoury bake.
- Avoid a powdery top: remember to rub a wet ingredient, such as butter, into your mix. You don’t want to wind up with a too-thick powdery or dry top to your crumble. Vegans may like to try using a little coconut oil, for example.
- Set a timer: some crumble mixtures tend to brown up quicker than others, so if your oven is prone to baking a little too quickly, set a timer a little earlier than necessary to check that nuts and other ingredients aren’t turning black on top.
Ready to perfect your crumble? Try these recipes out …
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