Whatever-You-Fancy Fruit Crumble

Whatever-You-Fancy Fruit Crumble

Autumn weather is finally here, and what’s cozier than snacking on fresh-from-the-oven sweets while watching too much fall TV? So, we’re happy to kick off a month of easy desserts, starting with this buttery fruit crumble from Suzanne Lenzer, author of Graze. Her recipe works with any fruit — pears, apples, peaches, berries or a mix. Here’s how to make it…

Whatever-You-Fancy Fruit Crumble
By Suzanne Lenzer, author of Graze

I have an absurd collection of ramekins. I have rounds, ovals and squares. I have deep and shallow. I have some in clusters of four, six and eight. Someday, when I have the garage sale I keep threatening to have, I’m going to go through the cupboard where I keep this ridiculous array of ramekins and figure out which I should keep and which I can live without.

My husband claims the perfect crisp or crumble (and they really are the same thing, aren’t they?) has equal parts fruit to pecan-oat-crunch in every bite, which makes sense. More sense than one person owning this many ramekins, for sure. Here’s our favorite version:

Recipe: Whatever-You-Fancy Fruit Crumble
Serves 4

You’ll need:

6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the ramekins
4 cups fruit (whatever you like: sliced peaches, pears, plums, apricots, berries, etc.)
2–3 tbsp granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is)
Grated zest of 1 orange or lemon, plus 1 tbsp juice
3⁄4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste
Good pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter small ramekins or one large gratin dish and transfer to a baking sheet. In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the granulated sugar and orange or lemon zest and juice and spread it out evenly in the ramekins or gratin dish.

In a food processor, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt and pulse until it looks like small peas and just begins to clump together, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add the oats and pecans and pulse just a few times to combine (they shouldn’t get too ground up).

Crumble the topping over the fruit and bake until golden and beginning to brown, 20 to 30 minutes for small ramekins and 45 to 50 minutes for a larger gratin dish.

Thank you so much, Suzanne! Your new cookbook is beautiful.

P.S. More recipes, including three-ingredient butter cookies, and blueberry cheesecake.

(Recipe excerpted from Graze: Inspiration for Small Plates and Meandering Meals by Suzanne Lenzer. Copyright © 2017. Photo by Nicole Franzen. Published by Rodale Books. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Christine says...

    If you are using tart fruit (like raspberries or blackberries) I would definitely use 1/3 cup sugar.

  2. made this tonight for an especially hot night in Upstate NY and EVERYONE LOVED IT…used my MIL’s raspberry bushes to harvest 7 lbs of razzes and a light crumb. Perfect with vanilla ice cream :)

  3. It didn’t look like this when I made it but was quite delicious. Thanks

  4. Julieta says...

    I found it to be too sweet, and I even cut back the sugar a bit. But the idea of having a go to formula is great. I usually rely on Clotilde Dusoliers formula (same amount in weight of flour, butter, sugar, and oats, you rub them together, add a pinch of salt and a dash of milk)

  5. This looks flipping delicious! I am definitely going to make this :)

  6. Kellie P. says...

    Yum! Do you know if this can be done with frozen fruit, and if so, does it require altering the recipe? Thanks!

    • Beck says...

      Yep i’m always making crumbles with cherries, blueberries and raspberries from the freezer.

  7. Yesss…this is so perfect. Is there anything better than a pile of whatever fruit you want covered in butter and sugar and flour and spices? I could eat crumble (or crisp or whatever you want to call it) for every meal and be quite happy! I love this base recipe for people to make it their own.

  8. Beck says...

    There are lots of different ways of putting a crumble together. In Nigel Slater’s classic ‘real fast puddings’ he adds extra toppings and changes sugar/flour/fat ratios to account for different fruit combos (some more juicy/sweet than others). With stone fruits ground almonds good, walnuts with pears, etc. I love making them by hand like my gran taught me (so easy I promise!). If using less butter a trick is to add a tiny bit of water to your ‘breadcrumbs’ and stir with a knife, so you get claggy, nubbly bits that get crunchy in the oven. Some uk restaurants now serve crumble separate to fruit but I think it’s wrong the gooey bit in the middle is essential!

  9. M Nielsen says...

    Pear Apple Crisp. This is a slam dunk combination. The pears should not be too ripe or they turn into sauce. I use a recipe from The Greens Cookbook.
    The topping has crumbled up amaretti cookies in it. It’s just so freaking delicious warm from the oven, served with vanilla ice cream.

  10. aga says...

    What a beautiful cookbook!

  11. Liz says...

    I think Ramekin would be the cutest baby name.

    • Sophie Keller says...

      Hahaha I would eat him up!

  12. yael steren says...

    Every time I see the word crumble my initial thought is – is there a recipe out there which just makes crumble? LOL! But really – I’m notorious for just eating the crumble off the top! xx yael

  13. I made a blueberry crumble pie last week and it kicked my desire for all things crumble-topped into high gear!
    I’m definitely going to try these with our apples the desperately need to be picked!
    I blame COJ for any future weight gain!

  14. Olivia says...

    Totally making this. Love ramekins too!

  15. Side note – this post also makes me totally want to start collecting ramekins too!

  16. Natasha says...

    If you are allergic to nuts could you omit them? Or would you have to add in something else to keep the ratios?

    • Heather says...

      What a gorgeous recipe. Thanks for sharing COJ Team and Suzanne!

      I think you would probably be okay to omit the pecans, up the oats a little bit and keep everything else the same. We make a very similar version of fruit crisp in our house with no nuts, but a 2/3 cup of oats. Hope that helps and happy baking!

    • cilla says...

      Natasha, I think you could use oats instead of nuts… I`ve done it before and it turned out great..

  17. Seriously, is there anything better than a crumble? I almost always try to ‘lighten’ them up by using way less butter, and then end up totally running the crumble part in the process. Although the fruit part still always tastes amazing. But this time I vow to use ALL THE BUTTER in this recipe and enjoy every bite! Live life, right?! We’re living in the South of France and the fruit here is so delicious you really don’t even need sugar, but man do they have great butter :)

  18. Emma says...

    Totally read the title as “Whatever, you Fancy Fruit Crumble,” which is also a post I would read.

    • Joanna Goddard says...


    • isavoyage says...

      You made my day, Emma!
      And I made a great applenana (apple + banana) crumble yesterday.

    • LG says...

      hahaha me too!!!

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Crumble is one of my favorite desserts to eat all year round, and I love that you can use any type of fruit in this recipe.


  20. Sophie says...

    Pecans?!?!?! 50:50 ratio? A ‘crisp’?!?! WTF! Oh America, leave our blessed crumble alone and stick with pies!
    The UK xxx

    • Emma says...

      Hahahaha that’s what I was thinking! It does look delicious but a crumble it is not (also I’m all about 2/3 crumble topping to 1/3 fruit…)

    • Laurie says...

      Wait, wait… what is a U.K. Crumble? (Besides a good name for an EDM musician). I must know now!

    • Akc says...

      I’m enthralled too..what is uk crumble?!

    • Madie says...

      Ha! It was interesting to read in Emma’s Guardian UK article that “the first printed mention of the dish is in the 1950 edition of Fanny Farmer’s Boston Cookbook, an American publication.” Hmmm ;)

  21. Sasha says...

    Yay! ! Dessert! !

    I have a huge bowl full of plums from our tree that are just begging to be baked into this yummy crisp. Thank you so much!