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a cast iron skillet filled with crumble. applies, cinamon sticks and star anise arranged around it.

For a warming dessert on these cooler, crisp nights, a comforting crumble can be the ultimate hearty and healthy-ish comfort food. It can be prepared in advance, ready to place in the oven, and makes a great leftover the following day as the flavours improve. In this recipe, we discuss changing texture for sensory needs.

To make it even quicker, instead of taking the time to stew apples, use a tin of pie apple. It is the type of recipe you can ask children to help with. Measuring and mixing the crumble is messy and fun. They just need to take care with the tin openers, the open tin and also when taking the dish from the oven.

Apple crumble is the kind of dessert you can modify for sensory needs. If a crunchier texture is needed, see our tips in the “crumble with the lot” for ingredients that help alter the texture.

Simple Crumble


  • 1 large tin pie apple
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (you can substitute with coconut oil)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup plain flour (or ground almond meal or rice flour for a gluten-free alternative)


  1. Place apples in an ovenproof bowl, pie dish or skillet. Warm the apples in the oven for 10 minutes. 
  2. Mix together butter, brown sugar and flour/almond meal till crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the hot apples. 
  3. Cook for 20 minutes in a moderate 180°C oven. 
  4. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, ice cream or custard on the side.

Note on stewing fruit

If you like to use the traditional method and have a little time on your hands, you will be rewarded with a more flavoursome dessert if you stew your own fruit.

Cut about 6 apples into wedges, melt a little butter in a large saucepan cook until the fruit is tender. You can add a cinnamon quill, a vanilla bean, or a couple of cloves (less is more) to the saucepan while stewing.

Crumble with the lot

If you want to try a more exciting crumble, here are some of our favourite hacks to upgrade your crumble game!

  • For fillings, you can use almost any combination of fruit. Try adding stewed pears, fresh or frozen blackberries, or stewed rhubarb stems to your apple mixture.
  • If the apple variety you choose is a particularly sweet variety, a dash of lemon or orange juice can help cut through the sugar.
  • And for toppings, you can add flaked or shredded coconut, a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon, a small handful of oats or flaked or crushed almonds or hazelnuts. If you are unsure if everyone will like the spices, wait until serving and sprinkle only on those that would like it.
  • Adding some zested citrus will add some zing to the flavour.


  • If there are no nut allergies, crushed or flaked almonds, hazelnuts and other nuts can add a crunchier texture to the crumble topping.
  • For the kids or young at heart, adding 1 cup of crushed corn flakes is sure to be a treat and results in a crunchier texture.
  • Adding a handful of coarsely crushed sweet biscuits is another easy option.

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