The Easiest Summer Dessert:
Any Fruit Crumble
A fruit crumble is a super yummy, easy summer dessert that’s super customizable and I’m gonna be honest, pretty hard to mess up. This Any Fruit Crumble has got your favorite summer fruit plus a crispy crumble topping. Top it all with cool vanilla ice cream or sweet whipped cream and you’ve got yourself the ultimate summer dessert! Follow this recipe, more like a guide, commit it to heart and find yourself making a homemade fruit crumble on the fly to impress everyone at the table!
The Difference Between a Fruit Crumble, a Crisp and a Cobbler
From all ends of the earth, people will be eternally discussing the differences between a crumble, a crisp and a cobbler. They’re all the same, right? Or are they?
For starters, all three of these easy summer desserts have the same general outline: baked fruit on the bottom and some type of baked dough on top. To me, a cobbler has more of a biscuit topping to cover the fruit. It’s more of an established, flaky yet tender dough.
On the other hand, a crisp and a crumble are virtually the same in my eyes. Both have the baked fruit on the bottom but then are topped with more of a crumbly, crispy streusel topping. Some say that crumble toppings have oats while crisp toppings don’t include oats, but they’re pretty interchangeable. TBH, this recipe is called Any Fruit Crumble but it could definitely also be an Any Fruit Crisp and I really just chose crumble because I like the sound of it better! But I digress. For a more detailed account of the differences, plus even more similar desserts (!!), see this article for more information.
Honestly, there are endless dobacles on what constitutes which and the proper form for each, but I think all that’s important is finding what works for you! The goal is to easily create something delicious, regardless of what it’s called!
A Note on What Baking Dish to Use
Before we get started on the actual crumble, let’s take a second to talk about baking dishes. I love to use a gold old 10 inch cast iron pan for my crumbles for that ~rustic~ look, however it’s not necessary. For this fruit crumble, you can use any 10-12 inch baking dish really. Use any shape of baking dish, a pie dish, a casserole dish, or if you’ve got no other options you can even use a brownie pan.
A fun twist on this could be to use smaller dishes like 5 inch cast irons, ramekins or other small dishes to make individual servings of crumbles!
Whatever dish you use, just make sure to butter it WELL before putting anything in it. Like get a tablespoon of room temp butter and rub it aaaalll over (don’t forget about those sides and corners)! It’ll make serving so much easier and it’ll prevent any fruit bits from sticking and burning in the oven!
The Best Summer Fruits to Use in a Crumble
The best fruit to use in your crumble is whatever’s in season! The beauty of this “recipe” is that you can head out to your farmers market, buy whatever looks good to you and be able to create a yummy summer dessert! Try strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, apples, pears, cherries, or whatever your local markets got in stock. I would just steer clear of melons or tropical fruits for texture reasons. Choose one of these or try out one of the combos below!
How to Make a Fruit Crumble
Preparing Your Fruit
First things first, we’ll start with the fruit mix. After washing the fruit, chop if necessary. For the smaller fruits like raspberries, leave them whole. Chop hulled strawberries in half or in quarters. For stone fruit, remove the pit and slice into wedges or chop into large diced pieces. Also, you can either leave the skin on for flavor/texture or remove it; either works great!
Once your fruit is prepped, add in sugar and lemon juice, mix well and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Before adding the sugar, taste the fruit to see how sweet it is. If your fruit is on the riper, sweeter side, add only ¼ C of sugar, however if more is needed for less ripe fruit, add ½ C. While sugar may be a controversial ingredient to add to a fruit dish, let me just say this. The small amount of sugar is needed for both flavor and for texture. It adds a different kind of sweetness to fruit and it also draws the juices out of the fruit, which is a necessary step.
Once the fruit is ready, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the fruit into your prepared baking dish. Make sure to leave the juices behind! Once all of the fruit is in the dish, add cornstarch to the remaining juices in the bowl. Whisk very well and then evenly pour the mixture over the fruit. Cornstarch is a thickening agent so this step will allow for the juices to thicken up and not be so runny when cutting into the finished dish! We want to contain those juices because they are added flavor!!
Making the Coveted Crumbly Streusel Topping
(And Getting It Crispy)
While the fruit is sitting and absorbing flavors and releasing juices (yum!), it’s the perfect time to make the crumble topping. First mix together the dry ingredients: flour for the base of the dough, brown sugar for a little sweetness and salt to bring out those flavors. Some crumble toppings include a leavening agent like baking powder, but I don’t find it necessary!
After mixing the dry ingredients, add in room temp butter and mix it together with a fork or your fingers, making sure to break up the butter into pea-sized pieces. The dough should be crumbly, hence the name Any Fruit Crumble, with some bigger pieces that stick together.
Once the fruit and the cornstarch mix is all set in the baking dish, add half of the crumble on top. This is my key tip to getting a crispy crumble topping. My main problem with crumbles is that the top is beautifully golden and crispy, yet the layer underneath is usually soggy and soft. But when you add half of the topping, bake, then add the second half and finish baking, that bottom layer gets the chance to get crispy along with the top half. No soggy streusels here.
Finishing the Fruit Crumble Plus Serving
Once the top layer of crumble is on, bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Evenly add the second half of the crumble topping and bake for another 15-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when juices are gently bubbling up around the topping and the actual topping is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool just slightly. Scoop and serve with vanilla bean ice cream or homemade whipped cream!
A Pro Tip for Year Round Fruit Crumbles
To bring you out of that mid-winter slump, try making a crumble with frozen or canned fruit! Frozen/Canned fruit gets a bad rep, but it’s some of the ripest fruit and it’s so accessible to everyone! If using canned fruit, strain the juice and don’t add any sugar — these fruits are usually ripe and soft enough!
If using frozen fruit, add the sugar and lemon juice and let thaw in the fridge or on the counter for a little. You may need to increase the baking time depending on the size of the fruits (like if you’re using whole strawberries, they’ll need a bit longer). The best way to figure this out is by just checking on the fruit throughout baking. Towards the end of the baking time, just scoop a bit of fruit out to make sure it’s soft enough! If you do need more baking time and the crumble topping starts to brown more than you’d like, cover gently with tin foil to inhibit further browning!
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy your little bowl of summer!
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make this recipe or have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment below or tag me @annietortellini on Instagram!
Any Fruit Crumble
- 8 C fruit washed and roughly chopped
- ~2-6 Tbs sugar see note
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 pinch salt about ½ tsp
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 C flour
- ½ C light brown sugar packed
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ C room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375°F and butter your baking dish. Use any 10-12 inch baking dish (cast iron skillet, pie dish, casserole dish).
- In a large bowl, combine the 6-8 C prepared fruit with sugar, 1 Tbs lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix well and let sit for 10-30 minutes.NOTE** Before combining, taste the fruit on its own. If using sweet, ripe fruit, use only about 2 or 3 Tbs of sugar. If using less ripe fruit, use about 4-6 Tbs of sugar, depending on how sweet you want your fruit.
- While the fruit is sitting, prepare the crumble topping.In a medium bowl, combine 1 C flour, ½ C packed light brown sugar, ½ tsp salt and ½ C room temp butter. Mix well with a fork or your hands, breaking up the butter into pea-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer just the fruit (leave the juices) into your prepared baking dish. Stir 2 Tbs cornstarch into the bowl with remaining juices and pour evenly over the fruit.
- Sprinkle half of the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle on the remaining crumble topping and bake for another 15-25 minutes until the fruit juices are bubbling and the crumb topping is golden brown.
- Let cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!