This traditional Apple Crumble Recipe became popular during the World War II era as an economical alternative to a true pie with pastry.
Today, of course, we still love this dessert. Especially when it's served with ice-cream!
The Recipe for Apple Crumble
Sweetly stewed apple. Crunchy, buttery topping. It's no wonder this recipe is a keeper.
And although it's fairly simple, you need to get the quantities of those basics right to make sure you get just the right amount of apple vs crumble. And you want that contrast between the tender apple and crisp, crumbly topping.
This recipe delivers everything that is wonderful about this recipe and will give you a very clear idea of why it's been handed down through the generations since the early 1900s.
Apple Crumble is generally regarded as British in origin. As mentioned above, it's a recipe that became particularly popular during the World War II era, and this is exactly when it was recorded by Nana Ling – October 1941.
Note: I've included a copy of Nana Ling's original recipe below, but I've tweaked it ever so slightly so keep scrolling to find the recipe card at the bottom of this post (and it's also much easier to read and follow in the recipe card).
Apple Crumble Ingredients
To make this classic Apple Crumble, you'll of course need apples!
I used 5 small-ish Granny Smith apples. Depending on the size of the apples you have, you might need between 4 and 6. Just use however many apples make up about 550 grams.
Granny Smith apples are widely available and particularly well-suited for cooking. Their tartness provides a great backdrop for sweet desserts and they are a reasonably firm variety of apple.
What other varieties of apples are well-suited to cooking Apple Crumble?
- Pink Lady: Also sweet-tart with a firm texture.
- Fuji: Sweet, crisp and textured.
- Royal Gala: Sweet with a mildly aromatic flavour.
- Braeburn: Another apple with a sweet-tart flavour and a firm texture.
- Red Delicious: A milder flavoured apple.
- Jazz: Sweet and tangy, great for eating or cooking.
If you want to know whether the apples you have on hand are ideal for cooking, check out this handy guide.
What else do you need apart from apples to make Apple Crumble?
You'll also need:
- golden syrup (or substitute honey, treacle or corn syrup)
- SR flour (or plain/all-purpose flour + baking powder)
- brown sugar
- desiccated coconut (unsweetened).
Note that ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
You might notice that there are no oats in this recipe.
Because this is a traditional recipe from the early 1900s. More modern recipes often incorporate oats and other ingredients used in the Apple Crisp, which is more popular in the United States.
Apple Crumble vs Apple Crisp
Both are stewed and baked apple desserts with a layer of topping.
A crumble's topping is more like streusel, made with flour, sugar and butter.
An apple crisp is also a baked fruit dessert, but its topping usually includes oats or nuts.
How to make Apple Crumble
Start by pre-heating the oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius/355 degrees fahrenheit, fan-forced) and greasing a baking or pie dish (about 1.5 litre capacity) generously with butter.
Alternatively, you could use 4–6 smaller dishes to create individual Apple Crumbles.
Stewing the apple
Peel and core the apples. Then chop them into small pieces (about 2 x 2cm) and place in a saucepan.
Add the water and golden syrup to the apples in the saucepan.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the fruit is soft. This should take about 10 minutes.
Layering your crumble
Place the stewed fruit into greased dish (or 6 small dishes).
How to make Apple Crumble topping
Next, rub the butter into flour, salt and sugar (or you can get this ready while your fruit is stewing).
That's all you need to do to make the crumble topping
Sprinkle this mixture onto the stewed fruit and then sprinkle the coconut on top.
When putting this recipe together, the crumble layer should be about half as thick as the apple layer.
Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes or until a golden colour.
Once cooked, the crumble becomes extra crumbly!
Serving your old fashioned apple dessert
The best way to enjoy this apple dessert is to serve it warm, straight from the oven, with a generous scoop of ice-cream or some whipped cream.
Q. Can I reheat Apple Crumble?
You sure can. Pop it in the microwave or cover with foil and reheat at 180 degrees celsius/355 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
Q. How to make apple crumble with oats?
As I mentioned above, Apple Crumble doesn't traditionally include oats but modern recipes often add in the oats.
You can adapt this recipe by adding 1–2 tablespoons of oats to the crumb mixture.
Q. How else could I vary this recipe?
You could also add chopped nuts to the crumb mixture.
Adding a little cinnamon to the stewed apples is also a popular variation.
Q. Do you have any other apple recipes?
Q. Could I try this recipe with other fruit?
Yes! It can easily be adapted to make pear, peach, strawberry or whatever else you fancy.
I also have a Rhubarb Crumble recipe.
Q. Do you have more of Nana Ling's handwritten recipes?
I sure do. Browse the entire collection of her handwritten recipes here.
You can also read more about Nana Ling here.
- baking or pie dish (about 1.5 litre capacity) or 6 x smaller dishes
- 4 large apples (or 5-6 small apples) (550 grams approximately)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (60 grams) (or substitute honey, treacle or corn syrup)
- 1 cup SR flour (150 grams) (or use 1 cup plain/all-purpose flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder)
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (80 grams)
- 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut (25 grams) (unsweetened)
- Pre-heat oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius/355 degrees fahrenheit, fan-forced).
- Grease baking dish generously with butter.
- Peel and core apples. Chop into small pieces (about 2 x 2cm) and place in a saucepan.
- Add water and golden syrup to apples in the saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until fruit is soft (about 10 minutes).
- Place stewed fruit into greased dish (or 6 small dishes).
- Rub butter into flour, salt and sugar. Sprinkle onto stewed fruit and then sprinkle coconut on top.
- Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes or until a golden colour.