When thinking about what apples to use for Apple Crumble, I think Gala Apples or Granny Smith Apples work best. Both of these apples have a slight tartness while still providing a tartness which is perfect, in my opinion, as it doesn’t take away from the taste of the crumble. Have you ever been curious as to which apples are best for apple crumble? Or which is the best apple crumble recipe? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
The Best Apples for Baking
Don’t bake with any old apples. Here are our six favorites.
We can make generalizations about apples. For instance, apples are generally delicious. We generally like to dip them in peanut butter, and we generally like them to be super crispy. But when it comes to the best apples for baking, generalizations are a lot less helpful. When baking with apples, we’re looking for a specific type, for a specific purpose. As soon as your oven get involved, not every apple is created equal.
The best apples for baking keep their structure, which keeps the chunks of fruit from turning into bland pockets of apple mush after spending some time in the oven. Granny Smith apples are generally our go-to baking apple, but in the BA Test Kitchen, we have a few favorites that hold up under heat and balance that perfect sweet-tart flavor just as well if not better. Here are six to keep in mind on your way to the orchard:
Tart with a honeyed sweetness, Jonagolds hold up exceptionally well in the oven. They don’t store well, however, so use them early in the fall at their peak. Make something like braised and brûléed apples with ice cream to give them all the attention they deserve. This sweetness is not to be hidden.
This is our desert-island apple. Its shatteringly crisp texture is guaranteed to hold firm, whether they show up in apple dumplings or an elegant tarte tatin. We wouldn’t blame you if you just ate them straight-up. Like we said, this is the one.
This superbly crisp apple has a concentrated taste and bakes up juicy but not mushy. They’ll do well under heaps of streusel in this yeasted apple coffee cake, using an intense flavor to stand up to a boatload of cinnamon.
Gentl & Hyers
Also known as Crispin, this firm-fleshed, less tart option is similar in flavor to a Golden Delicious. But it excels when it comes to structure, keeping more of a solid firmness. Mutsus are great for pies or other recipes that call for gentle cooking.
Intensely flavored with deep cider-y notes, these apples resist breaking down during cooking and deliver great complexity to baked goods. They’ll hold their own against the figs and other fruits in an apple custard.
Apple Crumble Recipe: 3 Tips for Making an Apple Crumble
The apple crumble rose to prominence as the result of wartime rationing to eventually become a paragon of rustic simplicity.
What Is an Apple Crumble?
An apple crumble is a baked dessert consisting of tender pieces of cooked apple tucked under a buttery, crumbly topping made from flour, sugar, butter, and other ingredients, such as rolled oats, spices, and nuts. The apple crumble is a play on traditional apple pie that requires less time, effort, and baking prowess.
You can serve the apple crumble warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and a cup of ice-cold milk or hot coffee.
3 Tips for Making an Apple Crumble
The best apple crumble comes together faster than a pie crust and allows for far more improvisation and personalization. Raid your pantry for new combinations of spices, nuts, and seeds to take your crumble topping to the next level. Consider these tips:
- 1. Use cold, cubed butter. Making the crumble with room temperature or melted butter will cause the topping to spread as it bakes, rather than creating a landscape of craggy, crunchy sweet pieces. Using cold butter will help all the crumble ingredients bind together before baking and then saturate them evenly in the oven.
- 2. Choose the right apple. Apple selection will make or break an apple crumble: if the fruit is too soft, the weight of the topping will bury it. If the apple is too mild, the balance between sweet and tart is lost. Aim for a firm, brightly-flavored apple, like Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Pink Lady.
- 3. Cut the apples into chunks, not slices. Thin stacks of stewed apple may be a hallmark of an apple pie, but an apple crumble is made to be scooped, not cut. Bite-sized pieces of apple maintain both the structural integrity of the crumble and make serving easy.
What Is the Difference Between an Apple Crumble and an Apple Crisp?
In the world of apple desserts, apple crisp and apple crumble are nearly identical: Both feature a bottom layer of apples but differ on the specifics of the topping. A crisp topping traditionally contains a greater percentage of rolled oats and nuts, resulting in a crisper, looser top layer.
A crumble is made from a denser, streusel-style topping crumbled over the top of the fruit before baking. However, many crumbles contain oats and nuts, so the distinction often comes down to personal preference.
Easy Apple Crumble Recipe
1 hr 15 min
- ½ cup dried barberries
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 4–5 Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup raw sliced almonds or pecans, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground green cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking dish with melted butter.
- 2Place the barberries in a small bowl with the lemon juice. Allow it to sit until the berries are plump and rehydrated, about 10 minutes.
- 3In a large bowl, combine the apples with the granulated sugar and the barberry-lemon juice mixture. Stir to incorporate with a rubber spatula, then transfer the apple filling to a baking dish.
- 4To make the crumble topping, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, sliced almonds, green cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- 5Add the cubed butter, and smash to combine, first with a pastry cutter, and then with your hands, kneading the mixture until no dry spots remain.
- 6Crumble the topping evenly over the apple mixture. Bake until the crumb topping is golden brown and the apples are juicy.
Classic Apple Crumble Recipe
Sometimes, you just need to stick with the classics. When it comes to great desserts, the possibilities are endless. While we are major fans of desserts with chocolate, there’s also something to be said about fruit adding a special kind of sweetness to a dish. That’s exactly the case with this classic apple crumble recipe that has been around for decades.
Recipe developer Ting Dalton has a knack for coming up with comforting desserts, and this one is no exception. There are plenty of things to love about this dish, but we think Dalton hits the nail on the head when describing what she loves the most. “[I’m a fan of] its simplicity. You don’t need a lot to have a home-cooked British classic,” Dalton shares. “It’s really one of the best winter warming desserts.” And, apples are also good for your health. “Apples have lots of health benefits including lowering cholesterol. It’s also a great way to add fruit into your diet,” Dalton notes. So, if you’re in the mood for some warm apple crumble served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it’s about time you whip this recipe up.
Gather the ingredients for classic apple crumble
Like any other recipe, you will need to make a list of the ingredients necessary to prepare this tasty dish. Start with some cooking apples. Dalton uses Bramley because, as she notes, “Bramley apples are classic British apples that hold their shape and are tart rather than sweet. You can use sweeter eating apples, but they may become more mushy and they will be a lot sweeter.” So, pick a tart apple you love that will remain firm.
Next, pop by the baking aisle, and grab some granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and self-rising flour. The recipe also calls for some cold butter and rolled oats. As a reminder, it’s always a good idea to check your pantry before heading to the store, as you may have a few items at home already.
Preheat the oven, and cook the apples
Are you ready to fix up this tasty treat? If so, keep reading! Start things off by taking a trip to your oven and heating it to 350 F. This ensures that the range will be fully heated by the time you need it.
Then, grab a saucepan, and place it over your stove. First, toss in the apples. (Remember that you should have peeled, cored, and cut these ahead of time.) Then, add the granulated sugar, vanilla, and water into the saucepan. Cook for a few minutes until the apples have softened. This won’t take long.
Add more sugar, and transfer to a baking dish
Once your apples have softened, take them off of the heat, and give them a little taste. If you think that they need a bit more sugar, you can add a little more at this time — it’s totally just based on your own preferences. Then, grab an oven-proof baking dish, and be sure to grease the inside so nothing sticks to it. Trust us — you don’t want to miss out on any of this goodness or have to scrape the bottom of your pan. Lastly, transfer the apple mixture to the greased dish so that it’s ready to go.
Make the crumble topping
Now it’s time to make the other mixture for this excellent apple crumble. Pull out a mixing bowl, and add in the flour, brown sugar, and butter. As a reminder, the butter should be cold and cubed. This is a little different than most recipes that call for the butter to be softened and at room temperature.
Using your fingers, rub everything together until the mixture starts to resemble bread crumbs. Then, stir in the oats. Scatter the mixture onto the apples, and then sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on top to add a little extra sweetness.
Bake the apple crumble, and enjoy
Now, double check that your oven has finished preheating. If it has, stick in the apple crumble, and set your timer for 40 minutes. Bake this wonderful treat until the top turns golden brown. You can continue checking on it throughout the baking process. Once the timer dings, grab your oven mitts, and remove the crumble from the oven.
You can enjoy this treat by itself, or serve it with some cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. It would also go well with either a refreshing, cold glass of milk or a cup of your favorite tea. We hope you love this yummy recipe as much as we do. It’s sure to be a seasonal favorite — or any time of year, for that matter!