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Flexible Fruit Crumble

by Jo Pratt from The Flexible Family Cookbook (Frances Lincoln)

photography Malou Burger

This is a recipe that's flexible from the top to the bottom. The quantities I’ve given all serve six to eight people, though you can easily increase quantities to serve more when required, or even put some in the freezer for a later date.

I don’t usually bother measuring/weighing the fruit for a crumble. I’ll have a baking dish in mind that will be suitable for the number of people to feed, and add the fruit directly to the dish, filling it about three quarters full.

So, here are a few crumble topping suggestions, and a basic method to follow and adapt accordingly for a finished crumble.

Time Taken: 1 hour

Serves: 6 to 8


Classic Crumble Topping (Nut-free)

350g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

175g butter, chilled and diced

100g caster, brown or demerara sugar

Oat and Nut Crumble Topping

150g spelt or wholemeal flour

150g butter, chilled and diced

1 tsp ground cinnamon

75g flaked almonds, lightly crumbled

50g rolled oats

100g soft brown sugar

Coconut Crumble Topping (Vegan)

200g plain flour

50g rolled oats

50g desiccated coconut

150g coconut oil, chilled

100g coconut sugar or soft brown sugar

Fruit Filling

675g - 850g prepared fruit, diced into bite-sized pieces where required

100g - 200g sugar (any is fine), depending on the sweetness of the fruit

juice of 1 lemon or orange (not all may be required)

1 tbsp cornflour, depending on the juiciness of the fruit

1 tsp ground spice, such as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg


1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ /160℃ fan/gas 4. Grease a baking dish with butter, coconut oil or other dairy-free alternative.

2. Toss the prepared fruit with the sugar, lemon/orange juice, cornflour and any spices in a large bowl. Use more sugar and less juice when cooking with tart fruits, like rhubarb and blackberries, and less sugar but more juice for sweet fruits, such as peaches and plums. Use more cornflour with very juicy fruits like plums or frozen berries and less with firm fruits like apples.

3. Tip the filling into the prepared baking dish.

4. To make the crumble topping, whichever one you chose, all you need to do is swiftly, rub together the butter or coconut oil with the dry ingredients until crumbly.

5. Scatter the crumble topping evenly over the top of the fruit.

6. Bake for 25–40 minutes until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the pan and the topping is golden.


Fruity choices: you can go with whatever you like. Let the seasons or what you just happen to have in your fridge or freezer determine what you use, whether it’s classic apple (using a combination of Bramley and eating apples, and a scattering of cinnamon), Summerberry (using fresh or frozen combinations and a little orange zest), plum or peach (great with a nutty crumble topping) or rhubarb (with some vanilla or orange zest).

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