You: So what is this apple thing that you’ve made today?
Me: Umm, apple crumble (or is it crisp?). I think they’re kinda the same thing.
You see, the thing is, I’m not sure what the difference between a Crisp and a Crumble is. With a little help from Google, I’ve come across various explanations – each one having a tone of being the ultimate authority on the subject. And in spite of reading so much, I was left more confused than educated about the difference between the two. So I tweeted.
The result: There was a consensus about the ingredients involved – that is, a Crumble topping is more buttery and a Crisp has oats and even nuts in it.[The Kitchn has the exact opposite stand though]. But the most straightforward point was that you need to take the names quite literally – a crisp is, well crispy (oats+ nuts) while a crumble is softer, more with the texture of shortbread. On the other hand, Helen highlighted what was playing on my mind: Crisps are American and Crumbles are English. And this to me seems like the safest bet, given that the ingredients used differ from person to person.
So how will I conclude this Crisp vs. Crumble debate? Well, let’s just call this a Crispy Apple Crumble.
Crispy Apple Crumble Recipe
Recipe source: The recipe is loosely based on recipes I’ve seen in Crumbles and Cobblers by Maxine Clark (I bought the book simply because the photographs of the juicy, rich desserts were so alluring). I’ve used them as a base for the recipe with addition of ingredients on a whim and using up my last two apples.
Yield: 2 servings
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
2 tbsp Brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (I much prefer grating a cinnamon stick with a microplane to get the most potent fragrance)
2 tbsp / 30g / 1oz. cold butter, cut into cubes
½ cup oats
½ cup flour
1/4th cup granulated sugar
1/4th cup brown sugar
1/4th cup walnuts, chopped
5 tbsp / 75g / 2.65 oz. cold butter, cut into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
- In a bowl, toss together apple, brown sugar and cinnamon, until well coated.
- Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and transfer the apples to it. Dot with cold butter. Set aside.
- In another bowl mix together the ingredients for the topping. Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter. Refrigerate this for about 10 minutes if you’ve got the time.
- Spread chunks of the topping mixture over the apples and bake for 35-40 minutes until the apples are done.
- If the apples are rather juicy, you might have to drain off the excess juices halfway through baking.
- Sneak in a few bites while still in the oven, under the pretext of making sure there isn’t too much liquid in there.
- Serve the apple crumble with vanilla icecream with caramel sauce or even better, Dulce de Leche.