The Ultimate Guide to Crumbles: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a fan of dessert, then you’ve probably heard of crumbles. They are a classic British dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. Crumbles are essentially baked fruit topped with a crumbly, buttery topping that is usually made from flour, sugar, and butter. However, there is much more to crumbles than just fruit and crumble topping. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about crumbles, from their history and variations to tips for making the perfect crumble.

History of Crumbles

Crumbles have a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century in Britain. The first recorded recipe for a crumble-like dish was found in a cookbook from 1596 called “The Good Huswifes Jewell.” The recipe was for a dish called “streusel,” which was made with butter, sugar, and flour and sprinkled over fruit. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that crumbles became popular in Britain.

During World War II, crumbles became a popular dessert because they were an easy and inexpensive way to use up leftover fruit. They were also popular because they could be made without eggs or milk, which were in short supply at the time. Today, crumbles remain a beloved dessert in Britain and have spread around the world.

Variations of Crumbles

While the classic crumble is made with apples, there are many variations of this dessert that you can try. Some popular fruits to use in crumbles include berries, peaches, pears, and rhubarb. You can also add other ingredients to the topping, such as oats, nuts, or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

In addition to fruit crumbles, there are also savory crumbles that are made with vegetables or meat. These can be served as a main course or as a side dish.

Tips for Making the Perfect Crumble

Making a crumble is relatively easy, but there are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure that it turns out perfectly. Here are some tips for making the perfect crumble:

  1. Use fresh, ripe fruit: The key to a delicious crumble is using fresh, ripe fruit. Overripe or underripe fruit can affect the texture and taste of the dessert.
  2. Don’t overmix the topping: The crumble topping should be crumbly, not doughy. Mix the topping just enough to combine the ingredients, and then sprinkle it over the fruit.
  3. Use cold butter: To get a crumbly texture for the topping, it’s important to use cold butter. You can even freeze the butter and then grate it into the topping for an even crumblier texture.
  4. Add texture to the topping: Adding oats, nuts, or other ingredients to the topping can add texture and flavor to your crumble.
  5. Use a deep dish: Crumbles can bubble over in the oven, so it’s important to use a deep dish to prevent this from happening.


Crumbles are a classic British dessert that has stood the test of time. They are easy to make, versatile, and delicious. Whether you prefer fruit crumbles or savory crumbles, there is a recipe out there for everyone. So why not give it a try and whip up a batch of crumble for your next dessert?


  1. What is the difference between a crumble and a crisp?

While crumbles and crisps are similar, there is one key difference. Crumbles are made with a topping that includes flour, sugar, and butter, while crisps are made with a topping that includes oats and butter

  1. Can I make a crumble ahead of time?

Yes, you can make a crumble ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before reheating it in the oven.

  1. How can I make a gluten-free crumble topping?

You can substitute gluten-free flour for the regular flour in the topping recipe. You can also use oats, nuts, or a combination of both to make a gluten-free topping.

  1. Can I use frozen fruit in a crumble?

Yes, you can use frozen fruit in a crumble. Just make sure to thaw the fruit completely before using it in the recipe.

  1. What are some creative variations of crumbles?

Some creative variations of crumbles include adding chocolate chips to the topping, using a mixture of fruits for the filling, or adding a layer of custard or cream between the fruit and the topping. The possibilities are endless!

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