This blackberry and apple crumble is an easy, comforting dessert with a crispy, buttery crumble topping and a juicy fruit filling with plump blackberries and tender, sweet-tart apples. It's a seasonal classic that the whole family will love.
Soft, inky blackberries and crisp green apples bake down into a juicy, jammy treat covered with a generous layer of rustic crumble topping. It's not a recipe that's going to win any visual awards, but is perfection really the aim with a crumble?
Some of the best, old-fashioned recipes are made with flavor front of mind, and this is one of them. As this blackberry and apple crumble bakes in the oven and begins to bubble and turn a warm golden brown, you'll be carried away into fall reverie with the aromas of cinnamon, cardamom, and warm fruit.
Fresh blackberries are a fleeting late-summer treat, but this recipe is flexible and works with frozen blackberries so that you can enjoy this crumble whenever the urge strikes.
If you're lucky enough to have more blackberries on hand, consider this blackberry poppy seed cake which features a homemade blackberry basil jam, or make this honey blackberry mascarpone ice cream. You could even serve a scoop with the crumble!
And for a similar type of recipe, see my strawberry apple crisp, which contains oats in the topping.
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- Unsalted butter - Using unsalted butter allows you to control the total quantity of salt in the recipe. Salt content in salted butter varies from brand to brand. The butter should be cubed.
- Brown sugar - To sweeten the crumble mixture and add caramel notes.
- All purpose flour - to provide structure.
- Whole wheat flour - Whole wheat flour adds a rustic heartiness and a subtle graham-cracker flavor. Alternatively, you could use rye flour for a nutty profile.
- Kosher salt - A bit of salt helps enhance the other flavors.
FOR THE BERRY AND APPLE FRUIT FILLING
- Semi-tart baking apples - I use Granny Smith apples, which are tart and firm with a shiny, bright green peel. Braeburn apples would give a similar flavor. Golden Delicious or Jonagold have slightly different flavor but retain a comparable texture when baked.
- Blackberries - Fresh or frozen blackberries will work for this recipe. There's no need to defrost the berries prior to baking. You may need to add a few minutes of bake time. Look for the cues noted in the recipe card.
- Granulated sugar - If your blackberries are particularly tart, consider adding an extra Tablespoon of sugar. Taste the filling before you bake the crumble to get a sense if more sugar is needed.
- Kosher salt - A bit of salt helps enhance flavors.
- Cinnamon - Ground cinnamon adds warmth and complements the fruit flavors.
- Cardamom - Ground cardamom provides herbal notes and a slight citrus flavor.
- Lemon juice - Lemon juice adds brightness and keeps the apples from turning brown.
- Cornstarch - Cornstarch thickens the juices from the apples and blackberries.
See recipe card for quantities.
Learn how to make apple and blackberry crumble!
Full details are included in recipe card. These step by step instructions serve as a visual guide to accompany the recipe.
In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar and salt. Cube butter and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work butter into flour. The butter should be incorporated until the mixture forms clumps. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Peel, core and chop apples. Add brown sugar, spices, cornstarch, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Stir until apples are well coated. Add blackberries and stir gently to blend into the apples and coat with cornstarch mixture.
Pour apple blackberry filling into ceramic dish and spread evenly.
Sprinkle crumble topping all over the fruit.
Place dish on parchment lined baking sheet and bake on middle rack of oven for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4). The crumble is done baking when juices in the middle are bubbling (not just at the edges) and the topping is a nice golden brown color.
Hints: Chilling the crumble topping for at least 60 minutes before baking will ensure that the butter remains cold. This will help the topping to crisp up well when baked.
- Whole wheat flour - Feel free to replace the whole wheat (or rye) flour in the crumble with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- Blackberries - If you don't have blackberries, you can replace them with an equal amount of apples for a classic apple crumble. You could also use a similar amount of plums, blueberries or rhubarb. If using rhubarb, I recommend doubling the sugar quantity in the filling (increasing from ¼ cup to ½ cup.)
Give these variations and serving suggestions a try!
- Oat and nut - The debate goes on as to whether a traditional crumble is made without oats and nuts. That said, if you want the additional texture and flavor, add them to the crumble mixture once you've mixed the flours, butter and sugar together. I recommend ⅓ cup of rolled oats (not instant) and a similar amount of chopped nuts.
- Á la Mode - Serve each portion of blackberry apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - or your favorite flavor! This honey blackberry mascarpone ice cream would be a perfect match.
- Extra crumble - If the crispy, buttery topping is your favorite part of this classic fruit dessert, go ahead and make an extra thick layer! I'd start with a 1.5 recipe: increase the flours, sugar and butter each to ¾ cup, and add just a pinch more salt.
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For this crumble recipe, I use a 2.5 quart (2.4 liter) ceramic Corning Ware casserole dish that measures 12 inches x 9.75 inches x 2 inches. I found it at a secondhand store, but you can purchase it here as well. A 9 x 13 inch casserole dish provides the same area and would work equally well.
A parchment lined half sheet baking pan (18 x 13 inches) catches any drips or spills. Sometimes a bit of fruit juice bubbles over. Save yourself the work of cleaning the oven and use a baking sheet underneath!
Store the crumble in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
To freeze leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator prior to serving.
- Make the crumble topping ahead of time. You can prepare the crumble up to a week in advance and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can also freeze it in a zippered storage bag for up to 3 months.
- You can also make the filling ahead of time and freeze it in the baking dish. See details in the FAQ here.
It's up to you! I usually don't peel apples for pies, tarts and applesauce. I did choose to peel these apples because shiny apples like the Granny Smith variety usually have a considerably thicker skin. If the peels don't normally bother you, feel free to leave them on.
It's truly a matter of preference. In this recipe, the apples are baked in the oven for nearly an hour. In that amount of time, they become fork-tender but still retain a bit of body. If you prefer very soft apples, you can always precook the apples with the filling ingredients (minus the blackberries and cornstarch). Cook apples for about 5 minutes in a large pot on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Having the right ratio of butter to flour is important! Also, baking the crumble in a medium oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit, 177° Celsius, Gas mark 4) allows plenty of time for the fruit to break down without the crumble topping getting too brown.
Yes! If you want to freeze the crumble before baking, freeze the fruit filling and crumble portions separately.
Seal the crumble in a sealed freezer-safe bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. (Be sure to break up any large lumps of crumble beforehand.)
Prepare the fruit filling and place it into the baking dish. Wrap it well and place in the freezer in a sealed freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Spread the crumble onto the frozen fruit filling just before baking.
Baking time will need to be extended since ingredients are frozen. Do not adjust oven temperature.
Blackberry and Apple CrumblePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 60 grams (½ cup) all purpose flour
- 56 grams (½ cup) whole wheat flour (or rye flour)
- 100 grams (½ cup) brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 113 grams (½ cup; 8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
BLACKBERRY APPLE FILLING
- 900 grams (approximately 4 large) Granny Smith apples (or other semi-tart, firm baking apples)
- 340 grams (2¼ cups) blackberries
- 50 grams (¼ cup) brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 20 grams (2 Tablespoons) corn starch
- 30 mL (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice
- pinch Kosher salt
- In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar and salt. Cube the butter and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the flour. The butter should be incorporated until the mixture forms clumps. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.If making ahead, place crumble in a zippered storage bag and freeze for up to 3 months.60 grams (½ cup) all purpose flour, 56 grams (½ cup) whole wheat flour (or rye flour), 100 grams (½ cup) brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, 113 grams (½ cup; 8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
BLACKBERRY APPLE FILLING
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4) with rack in center of oven. Set our a 9 x 13 ceramic casserole dish.
- Peel, core and chop apples into small pieces (see photo for reference). I quartered my apples, sliced each quarter into 4-5 pieces lengthwise, and then cut those in half. Place apples in a large bowl.900 grams (approximately 4 large) Granny Smith apples (or other semi-tart, firm baking apples)
- To the apples, add brown sugar, spices, cornstarch, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Stir until apples are well coated. Add blackberries and stir gently to blend into the apples and coat with cornstarch mixture. Pour into ceramic dish and spread evenly.50 grams (¼ cup) brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, 20 grams (2 Tablespoons) corn starch, 30 mL (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice, pinch Kosher salt, 340 grams (2¼ cups) blackberries
- Sprinkle crumble topping all over the fruit. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until juices are bubbling at center of crumble and topping is golden brown. Cool somewhat on a rack. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream, crème fraîche, yogurt or custard sauce.
The Floured Table
Recipe Author: Kathleen Culver
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