Skip to main content

An apple crumble recipe that's just about perfect

There's no resisting a steaming bowl of delicious apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This recipe by cook and author James Rich is just about perfect

Apple crumble is a serious business in my home,' says James Rich, author of this irresistible recipe from his cookbook Apple: Recipes from the Orchard. 'I must admit that I got slightly obsessed with creating the perfect apple crumble recipe when I was younger – testing different apple varieties, alternative ways of cooking the crumble as well as the different spices and ingredient additions you can make.' Thanks to James' rigorous testing, the rest of us can now enjoy perfect apple crumble whenever we fancy.

How to make the best apple crumble 

'Firstly, to my mind there is only one apple variety that anybody should consider for a crumble recipe. Yes, it might sound lazy or a cliché even, but the Bramley really is the king of the crumble. And a mostly traditional mix of flour, caster (superfine) sugar, butter and a pinch of cinnamon has been constantly and consistently the favoured crumble topping.

What is the secret to crunchy crumble?

I like my crumble nice and crunchy, so add some porridge oats and walnuts or hazelnuts as well as pre-cooking the crumble to get it just right. But this is personal preference, and both processes can easily be skipped. The crumble is a hero of a dish that never fails to be an absolute hit at dinner parties, Sunday lunches or even a midweek indulgence.'

A recipe from Apple: Recipes from the Orchard by James Rich (Quadrille). Buy the book Apple: Recipes from the Orchard here.


Ingredients for an apple crumble

4 large cooking apples, such as Bramleys, peeled, cored and diced
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
50 g (5 oz) butter, at room temperature
250 g (9 oz/heaped 1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
200 g (7 oz/1⅔ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
50 g (2 oz/½ cup) porridge oats
50 g (2 oz/½ cup) walnuts and/or hazelnuts, chopped
1½ tablespoons demerara sugar

To serve

Custard or vanilla ice cream
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Preheat a fan oven to 160°C (320°F/gas 4) and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

    Step 2

    Place the diced apples in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with half the ground cinnamon and a couple dollops of the butter.

    Step 3

    Put the sugar, flour and the remaining butter into a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips. You should combine the ingredients by rubbing between your fingers and thumbs to create a breadcrumb-like texture. Then add the oats, walnuts or hazelnuts, sprinkle in the remaining ground cinnamon and mix thoroughly.

    Step 4

    Once the dry mix is combined, spread it out evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes. (This part is optional, but I love doing this to create a particularly crunchy crumble topping.)

    Step 5

    Spread the topping over the apples and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top. Then, cook in the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and bubbling round the edges.

    Step 6

    Serve with a healthy dollop of custard or vanilla ice cream. Or simply with a big bowl and spoon.

Read More