As the air turns crisp and leaves start changing colour, there’s no better way to enjoy the fall season than with a warm, freshly baked apple crumble. This classic comfort food dessert has been a staple in kitchens for generations, and for good reason. With its simple ingredients and rustic charm, apple crumble is the ultimate crowd-pleasing treat.
While the origins of apple crumble are not definitively known, most food historians agree it likely emerged in Britain sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century. Early recipes utilized basic ingredients on hand like apples, flour, butter, and sugar to create a simple dessert that was both economical and delicious. The concept of tossing sliced apples and sweeteners into a baking dish and topping it with a streusel-like mixture caught on quickly in British and American cookbooks in the early 1900s.
Traditionally, apple crumble consists of chopped apples coated with cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice, then topped with a crumbly mix of flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter. The apples release their juices and bubble away while the crumble bakes into a lightly crunchy, sweet topping. The contrast of the tender apples and the crispy, buttery crumbs is what makes this dessert so comforting and crave-able. Modern riffs on the classic often incorporate different spices like ginger or cardamom, alternate grains for the streusel, and mixed fruit fillings, but the basic components remain the same.
When it comes to the apples themselves, almost any variety works well in crumble. Good baking apples that hold their shape like Granny Smith, Gala, Jonagold or Braeburn are great choices. The key is to peel and chop the apples into bite-sized chunks before tossing them with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and letting those flavours meld. Pro tip: under-bake the crumble slightly so the apples are tender but not mushy.
While apple crumble tastes great on its own, a scoop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream can take it over the top. The interplay of the warm apples and tart streusel with the cool, creamy vanilla is a match made in heaven. Drizzle on some caramel sauce for even more decadence.
Simple, comforting, and quintessentially fall – apple crumble truly can’t be beaten. This easy dessert comes together with just a handful of ingredients and bakes up incredibly flavorfully. Crisp and cinnamon on the outside while warmed apples ooze in the middle, it’s no wonder apple crumble has remained a staple treat for generations. Enjoy it after dinner or bring it along to a fall potluck to share the cozy goodness. However you bake it up, apple crumble is guaranteed deliciousness.
Scrummy Apple Crumble
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted, plus more for buttering the pan
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar divided
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3½ lbs. mixed apples Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch wedges (about 8 medium apples)
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup of the brown sugar, oats, pecans and salt. Add the butter, and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Add the apples to the buttered baking dish and toss with the remaining ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Spread the apples into an even layer. x
- Press the crumb mixture together to create clumps of different sizes, and sprinkle on top of the apples. Transfer to the oven, and bake until the apples are tender and the crumb topping is crisp and deep golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.