I love making crumbles. They're really simple and with little effort you end up with a deliciously comforting bowl of fruity, sweet loveliness.


  • 6 bramley apples (peeled, cored and chopped into quarters)
  • 150 g light muscovado sugar
  • 400 g self-raising flour
  • 250 g butter (salted, cut into cubes and left out of the fridge for a good half-hour)
  • 150 g demerara sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 0.5 tsp mace
  • 0.25 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground rose petals (optional)
  • 0.5 tsp long pepper (white pepper is fine)
  • beans of 1 vanilla pod
  • 200 ml mascarpone and 200ml crème fraîche mixed together (optional)


  • A crumble doesn't need any messing around. The key is using really fresh fruits, but every so often it makes an excellent change to add a little twist to your dish, in this case with spices to enhance the floral notes of the fruit. I like a good thick crumble and occasionally add a couple of handfuls of brambles (fresh or frozen) for extra fruitiness! Either way, I really hope you enjoy this one.
  • Grind or blitz all the spices, except the vanilla pod and mix together. Then split the vanilla pod, scrape out the beans and add them to the spice blend.
  • Take a deep ovenproof dish and pop the apples into it.
  • Mix 2 tsp of the spice blend into the light Muscovado, then sprinkle this spiced sugar mix over the apples and set aside.
  • Pop the flour into a large mixing bowl, followed by the cubed butter, the Demerara sugar and the remaining spice blend.
  • Top Tip: you could exchange the flour for 'gluten free' flour - a blend of rice flour, tapioca and potato starches is great. A ready-made gluten flour can be bought quite readily now from many health food shops and supermarkets. The crumble would then be fine for Coeliacs to tuck into.
  • Next, roll up your sleeves and using your (clean) hands work the ingredients in the bowl together, rubbing the floury, buttery mix between your fingers until you end up with a texture that resembles breadcrumbs. This should only take 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Pour the flour mix from the bowl over the fruit. Spread evenly, making sure to cover all the fruit, then lightly press down with the flat of your palms.
  • Pop the dish into your oven, set to 180°C, Gas mark 4. Allow to cook for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the crumble turns a light brown colour and the fruit starts to bubble up through crumble mix, around the sides of your dish.
  • Serve mounded high in bowls with the Mascarpone, crème fraîche mix, fresh cream or custard - whichever is your indulgence of choice! The main thing is to enjoy it!

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