There’s nothing more comforting than a delicious fruity crumble during Autumn. With this make ahead crumble topping recipe with added oats, you can have crumble and custard ready in no time at all. What’s more is that I bake the crumble topping separately first, giving you the ultimate crunchy topping for your favourite fruit crumble recipes.
What Makes This Recipe Great!
- You Can Freeze It – A perfect make ahead recipe that you can freeze until you need it.
- It’s Quick and Easy to Make – Using simple ingredients and simple steps, your crumble topping will be ready to bake in less than 10 minutes.
- It’s Versatile – You can use this crumble topping for all kinds of fruit crumble.
Nutty Crumble Mix
Whether you like a classic apple crumble or prefer to mix it up and add other fruits like pears, blackberries or rhubarb. This easy recipe for a nutty crumble topping pairs well with a whole array of different fruits. From a classic apple filling in a fruit crumble or even to top other dessert recipes, you can create a crunchy crumbly topping with ease and even store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
I give you an easy crumble topping recipe that can be your go-to when you want to create a quick dessert.
I add oats to a traditional crumble recipe along with chopped hazelnuts creating the most delicious crunchy, nutty crumble mix that you can either sprinkle onto the fruit filling or bake separately for the best results giving you that extra crunch.
It’s easy to make, perfect for families and can be altered to leave out the nuts if you prefer. Simply bake it flat on a tray and then sprinkle over the top of a baked crumble for the crunchiest results.
- Flat Baking Tray or Baking Sheet – To spread out the crumble and bake it to crunchy perfection.
- Baking Paper – To line the baking tray.
- Large Mixing Bowl – To Mix everything together in.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula – For mixing.
- Pastry Blender/Pastry Cutter (optional) – This can be a handy tool to assist you with incorporating the butter into the flour but it isn’t a necessity.
- Plain White All-Purpose Flour – I recommend using plain flour for the best results.
- Rolled Oats – Jumbo oats are another option but the texture may differ slightly. Porridge oats are fine, but stay away from oats with a too fine texture as the result may not be as crunchy.
- Ground Cinnamon – A pinch of cinnamon flavour adds a lovely spice to the crumble mixture and I also recommend adding some to the fruit base too. You can also try mixed spice for a slightly different flavour.
- Unsalted Butter – Stick to unsalted butter as this is a sweet dish we are making. Be sure to use the butter straight from the fridge to create that breadcrumb texture. Using soft butter may cause your ingredients to form into a big ball that’s hard to crumble up.
- Soft Light Brown Sugar – You can also use caster sugar or a dark brown sugar. However, there will be a taste difference depending on which sugar you choose to use.
- Demerara Sugar – Adding demerara sugar to the topping gives a little extra texture.
- Hazelnuts – This nutty crumble topping uses hazelnuts, but you could also try pecans or walnuts as a substitute for a variation of this recipe, this is down to personal preference. You can also leave them out for a nut-free crumble topping version too.
Where Does Crumble Originate?
Crumbles are known as a British dessert dish, consisting of variety of fruits that are baked and served with a sweet crumb topping. However, you can also find savoury versions of the recipe too.
Crumbles became very popular during rationing around the time of World War 2. They were made as an alternative to fruit pies, since the ingredients to make them were in short supply.
The ingredients in the crumble topping are quite diverse as are the fruits used to make the dish. Often, crumbles are made from seasonal fruit as it ripens. The topping of a crumble usually consist of a base of butter, flour and sugar that is rubbed together to form a breadcrumb-like texture which is then layered over the fruit desserts in a thick layer and baked in the oven.
In the USA, Crumbles are called Fruit Cobblers or Fruit Crisps. The difference between Cobblers and Crisps is that usually cobblers don’t contain oats as a topping ingredient whereas a crisp topping often does.
Step-By-Step How To Make Crumble Topping
Step 1: Preheat the oven
- Preheat the oven to 180C (356F).
Step 2: Prepare the butter
- Cube the butter into small chunks and place it back into the fridge while you prepare everything else. It’s recommended to have all the ingredients weighed out and prepared beforehand.
Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and ground cinnamon together.
Step 4: Incorporate the butter
- Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture.
- Rub the dry ingredients together with the butter using your fingers or use a stand mixer until you achieve a breadcrumb-like texture. Be careful not to overmix, as it may result in a ball of dough instead of crumble.
Step 5: Add the soft sugar, oats, and hazelnuts
- Mix in the soft brown sugar and oats until combined.
- Crush the hazelnuts into small pieces and stir them through the mixture.
Step 6: Prepare the baking tray
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Spread out the crumble topping in a thin layer on the prepared tray.
Step 7: Sprinkle and bake
- Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the crumble topping.
- Place the tray into the preheated oven.
Step 8: Bake the crumble topping
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the topping turns golden brown and becomes crunchy.
Step 9: Cool and assemble
- Remove the topping from the oven and let it cool slightly on the baking tray.
- Pour the crunchy topping over the baked fruit crumble base.
- Serve and enjoy!
How to Serve
If you love a crunchy crumble topping on your dessert we recommend baking the crumble mix separately, spread it out on a baking tray and bake until it becomes golden brown. This is the perfect way to enjoy a fruit crumble, the mixture does not absorb the fruit juices as it bakes and prevents it from becoming soggy. However, if you prefer the more traditional way to bake a crumble, you can simply sprinkle it over the top of the fruit in a baking dish before baking and bake it altogether.
Fruit combinations that are great for crumbles and go well with this topping include:
- Apple and Blackberry Crumble.
- Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble.
- Apple and Pear Crumble.
- Peach and Raspberry Crumble.
- Plum and Apple Crumble.
You can also serve your baked crumble with a delicious egg custard, thick cream, drizzles of caramel sauce or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can even save a little extra crumble topping and sprinkle it over the top of ice cream too!
If you intend to cook your crumble topping directly on top of the fruit base, only add it just before placing it into a preheated oven. Leaving it too long sitting on the side, will allow the fruit base to release liquid which the crumble topping will then absorb. For the crunchiest topping we recommend baking it separately.
This is usually down to the butter being too warm when mixed together. Also, if the ambient temperature is warm, then the butter will soften after the crumble mix is made and cause it to turn into a dough-like consistency. Be sure to use cubed butter straight from the fridge when making the crumble mix. Place it in the fridge or freeze it straight away once made, if you do not intend to bake it immediately.
Pro Tips and Guidance
- Bake it Separately for Crunchy Results – I love a crunchy topping and baking it separately before sprinkling it over the top of your baked fruit will give you the crunchiest topping that is similar to an American Crisp.
- Freeze The Topping Before Baking – You can make a big batch of this crumble mix and store it in the freezer before baking it when you need it.
- Use Cold Butter – When rubbing the ingredients together, be sure to use butter straight from the fridge for the best results. We want to create a breadcrumb-like texture from the ingredients which is hard to achieve with soft butter.
- Want to Make a Vegan Crumble Topping? – It’s very achievable with this recipe to make a vegan version, just use a dairy-free butter that is suitable for baking.
Storage and Reheating
- Storage: An entire baked crumble can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. However, you may find the crumble topping won’t stay as crunchy.
- Freezing: Before baking, this oat crumble mixture can be frozen and stored for up to 3 months. This is the best way for storage that keeps it fresh and gives you the best results to your crumble.
- Reheating: When you want to reheat the crumble, cover it and place it in the oven until piping hot all the way through. Covering the crumble to reheat it, will help prevent the topping from getting too brown and over-baked.
Check Out These Sweet Recipes
Another British classic, these Easy London Cheesecakes are slightly deceiving by name as they contain no cheese, but they taste amazing.
Combining fresh flavours this Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake is a classic recipe with a twist. The combination of lemons and fresh blueberries make this cake great for special occasions.
If you grow your own and need to use up a glut of courgettes then this Courgette Cake Recipe With Lemon is the perfect way to make the most out of your home grown vegetables. A delicious summer cake.
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Crumble Topping With Oats
- 160 g Plain All Purpose Flour
- 40 g Oats , rolled or porridge oats
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 100 g Unsalted Butter
- 160 g Light Brown Soft Sugar
- 40 g Hazelnuts, Chopped
- 1 tbsp Demerara Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C (356F)
- Remove the butter from the fridge and chop it into small cubes. Place it back in the fridge while you prepare everything else.
- Mix together the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Add the cold, cubed butter to the flour and with clean fingers, rub the ingredients together to form a breadcrumb like texture.
- Stir in the oats and soft brown sugar.
- Chop the hazelnuts and mix in.
- Line a baking tray and evenly spread the crumble mixture onto it.
- Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
- Place the crumble mixture into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the tray from the oven and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- When your fruit base for the crumble is ready, evenly sprinkle the crunchy crumble topping over it and serve immediately.
- Bake it separately for the most crunchy results. You can also bake it on top of a fruit base if you’d prefer but the result might not be the same.
- You can freeze the crumble mixture before baking for up to 3 months.
- Ensure the butter is cold. Using warm or softened butter will result in a texture difference and the crumble mixture will likely end up as a ball of dough instead of a crumbly texture.