Crisps and Crumbles – Desserts with Homespun Charm

Crisps and Crumbles

Photo Credit: Rebecca Wilson

Crisps and crumbles are desserts that are rich in flavor and in homespun charm. These sweet delights are easy to make, and you can actually use just about any fruit or fruit mixture you like to prepare these. Crisps and crumbles are similar to cobblers, except that they are not topped with a batter. Instead, to prepare these desserts, you use a relatively dry topping made of sugar, flour, spices, nuts, or oats. Take a peek at Martha Stewart’s apple crisp recipe and Jamie Oliver’s pear crumble with ginger.

Martha Stewart’s Apple Crisp

Lifestyle goddess Martha Stewart shares her recipe for Apple Crisp in her cooking website which has this to say about this dessert: “One of the definitive desserts of fall, apple crisp is easy and economical.” The people in her test kitchen recommend the use of Empire, Gala, or Braeburn apples for this recipe.

Ingredients include three pounds of apples, peeled cored and cut into half-inch chunks, ¾ cup all purpose flour, half a teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, one stick unsalted butter (cut into small cubes, kept cold), one cup old fashioned rolled oats, two tablespoons lemon juice (fresh) and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

To prepare the topping, Martha instructs her readers: “In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare apples.”

For the apples, Martha recommends that they be tossed in a bowl with lemon juice, cinnamon, and the remaining sugar. To cook the apple crisp, she tells readers: “Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.”

Jamie Oliver’s Pear Crumble with Ginger

Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Best-Ever Fruit Crumble includes a filling made of 100 grams sugar, 100 ml water, four ripe pears (peeled, cored, cut into chucks), five pieces of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped, and the juice of and zest of one lime. His topping includes 225 grams all purpose flour, 90 grams caster sugar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of powdered ginger, and 115 grams unsalted butter (in small chunks).

To prepare the topping, you simply have to sift your flour into a bowl, add the sugar, salt, and the powdered ginger. Into this flour mixture you rub in the cold butter until you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.

Here’s how you put this dessert together: For the filling, “…boil the water and sugar together, then carefully drop in the pear chunks and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped ginger and the lime zest and juice to the pan and stir. Spoon the mixture into one large ovenproof dish or four small ones.”

To put the dessert together, Jamie Oliver says: “Sprinkle the crumble topping over the top of the fruit, piling it high in the middle of the dish and leaving space at the edge for the caramel to bubble up.”

Both desserts are so easy to make, children can participate in their preparation. Best of all, warm from the oven and topped with cream or ice-cream, both desserts are pure heaven!

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