I'm a little bit dubious of the research I've done on my next English dish (research = reading Wikipedia). My extensive research said that the crumble was invented in World War II as an alternative to fruit pies. The theory goes that making a crumble topping needed less of the foods that were rationed during the war. Not sure about that one, as the ingredients for crumble are pretty much the same for pastry: fat, flour and sugar.
Crumbles feel like they've been around forever - I don't know of anyone that can't make a crumble and wouldn't eat one with childish glee. (Apparently you guys across the pond know the crumble as a crisp - nice name. But I still like crumble better!)
They're the perfect dessert for kids, not only because they're delicious and easy to eat but because they're so simple to make that even poor overworked parents can whip them up while entertaining demanding toddlers!
Debate rages in our household as to what's the best accompaniment for a crumble. (Not joking when I say 'rages' either - this is a major bone of contention chez Flicking the Vs!) I maintain it's custard - warm, comforting! He maintains ice cream - cold, melty!
Pretty much any fruit can be made a crumble as far as I can tell, but apple is the classic fruit.
Last time I was visiting my other's half's mum, she was not only kind enough to give us a load of apples, she showed us where vast amounts of wild blackberries grew and we got a ton of them. (More on what happened to the rest of the blackberry stash in a subsequent post. Safe to say, booze is involved!)
Do I need to give a recipe for crumble? I think the crumble recipe has been around for so long, it's embedded in people's cellular memory or something now.
Anyway, if you do: chop up some fruit, sprinkle with sugar, stick in Pyrex dish. Mix together an equal weight of fat and flour and rub it between your hands until it turns into breadcrumbs. Stir in the same quantity of sugar, and sprinkle it over the fruit. Bake until the crumble bit is lightly brown, and fruit is cooked.
Serve with custard, not ice cream. Repeat, NOT ICE CREAM.
It'll look like a car crash (see below) but who cares? It's delicious!