Apple, pear and brown sugar crumble

Think you can’t beat a traditional apple crumble? Think again – the secret is all in the fruit. Here eating apples stay chunky, British bramleys cook down to a fruity sauce and pears add an aromatic sweetness.

  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

Serves: 8


3 bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
3 seasonal eating apples such as early windsor, worcester or estivale (or use jazz or braeburn later in the year), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
2 tbsp cornflour
50g light brown muscovado sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
4 conference pears (or use taylor’s gold or concorde later in the year), peeled, cored and cut into chunks

Crumble topping:
200g plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
good grating fresh nutmeg
75g rolled oats
200g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
75g light brown muscovado sugar
75g demerara sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3. Toss all the apples with the cornflour until it’s mostly absorbed, then place in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice and 200ml water. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not mushy, then turn off the heat, stir in the pears and lemon zest and tip into a baking dish (about 1-1.5 litres in volume).

2. For the topping, mix the flour, spices and oats in a bowl, then rub in the butter to a crumbly mixture. Stir in the sugars, hazelnuts and a pinch of salt, then scatter over the fruit. Sprinkle with a little extra demerara sugar and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden.