Crumble: The Ugliest and Laziest of Desserts

I know I’m not even half way through my honeymoon food blogs, but I wanted to post about something that’s been bothering me. 

Every day after work I walk past a news agency with posters for the new edition of delicious magazine posted all over it: 

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On a cover, posing as the perfect warm, Winter dessert is a crumble – looking sexy and moreish as ever. And it annoys me… because my recent experience with crumble has proven that crumble is anything but sexy and moreish. 

We had about 8 guests come over the other weekend, the first time we’ve properly hosted a dinner since we got married. Dinner was taken care of (hot pot is a lazy cook’s best friend!) but I thought I would go to some effort and make a nice dessert for everyone. Since it’s been freakishly cold lately, like the poor, foolish potential buyers of delicious. magazine, I thought crumble would be the ideal winter warmer dessert. Especially for a large group of people – low effort, maximum results. So very very wrong I was. 

Crumble recipes are all pretty simple – some chopped up fruit (I chose apple and rhubarb) with sugar and citrus juice, topped with a mix of butter, flour and maybe some oats or muesli. Chuck it in the oven for 45 minutes. So I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to stuff up. When you take it out, it looks pretty good – golden brown on top, with hot, stewed fruit juices oozing out at the sides. But when you start spooning out portions, you start to regret your crumble very very quickly. But about the third bowl, you want to throw the spoon in frustration and tell everyone that dessert is cancelled. 

One, rhubarb and apple DO NOT take the same time to cook. When I took mine out of the oven, my rhubarb was a touch too soft, but the apple was still crunchy. If I had cooked it for longer… it would have ended up as apple crumble with mushy rhubarb sauce. This was not the result I was after – and I blame it on a fatal, fundamental flaw not only in the recipe, but in the entire crumble concept. 

Two, “crumble” in theory sounds fun and delicious. “Crumble” in reality looks like you’ve crushed up some biscuits on top of a bowl of stewed fruit. In fact, crushed biscuits would have probably led to a better result. The more the crumble comes in contact with the fruit, the gluggier and mushier it becomes. The final consistency is something like baby food – yum yum! 

Three, the recommendation to serve with “warm custard” was the worst idea ever. You can imagine what red stewed fruit, yellow custard and light brown crumble all mixed together looks like. It looks like someone just vomited up a cherry pie. It’s so ugly it’s actually hard to eat. 

Finally, while I was sitting there humiliated, mortified in the company of 8 guests politely trying to eat a thoroughly unimpressive dessert, one of the guests attempted a compliment: “I would love to eat this for breakfast!

I basically served cereal as dessert. Never again crumble. NEVER AGAIN!!  

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5 thoughts on “Crumble: The Ugliest and Laziest of Desserts

  1. FFKF says:

    “It looks like someone just vomited up a cherry pie.” HAHAHA – gold 🙂

    and don’t they do a dessert called ‘breakfast’ at ms g’s? so on that basis, they were just telling you that you’re being trendy 🙂

  2. Rach says:

    How in the world did Delicious. get their crumble to look so good?

  3. Amanda says:

    While I am extremely amused at your point of view in this post… I am going to hazard a suggestion in the hopes that you haven’t ruled out crumble permanently.

    The best way for a dinner party is to serve them in individual ramekins. That way in serving it doesn’t look like you’ve “crushed up some biscuits on top of a bowl of stewed fruit” (this comment had me in histerics BTW) but instead have a neat little crumble in a contained dish.

    As for the rhubarb and apple cooking issues – agreed the recipe is fundamentally flawed!

    Great post – I’m subscribed!

    • Heather says:

      Yes the thought of making crumble in individual servings did cross my mind but I thought I would do the melodramatic thing and shun it for life instead!! Thanks for the comment!

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