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  • Writer's pictureThe Wild Foodie

Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Foraged Fruits

Updated: Sep 10

Late summer brings with it a time of culinary delight as the landscape becomes adorned with the bountiful harvest of blackberries. These deep purple jewels, ripe and ready for the picking, offer a tantalising taste of nature's sweetness before the seasons shift.

Blackberry bushes, once mere green tangles, transform into veritable treasure troves during this time. Laden with clusters of plump berries, they beckon to all who pass by, promising a burst of flavour that captures the essence of the changing seasons. This period of the year is when these berries reach their peak, embodying the culmination of sunshine and warmth that they've absorbed throughout their growth.

The allure of these late summer blackberries lies not only in their rich colour but also in their complex, slightly tart-sweet taste. They are at their most exquisite when foraged at just the right moment, offering a blend of acidity and sweetness that awakens the taste buds. These berries are nature's gift to home cooks and bakers, inviting them to create a variety of delightful treats that showcase their natural goodness.

Fancy foraging for blackberries? See our useful guide on when and how to forage for Wild Blackerries.

Apple and Foraged Blackberry Crumble Recipe
Apple and Foraged Blackberry Crumble

From classic blackberry pies with their bubbling, syrupy fillings to rustic crumbles that combine the berries with a buttery streusel, these late summer gems shine in a range of desserts. The simplicity of blackberry jam allows their essence to be preserved, ready to spread on morning toast or drizzle over freshly baked scones. And let's not forget the joy of enjoying blackberries fresh off the bush, their burst of juiciness a simple pleasure that embodies the essence of late summer.

For those who appreciate the rhythm of nature's offerings, late summer blackberries are a reminder of the fleeting yet exquisite beauty that each season brings. Their presence calls us to embrace the simplicity of gathering, savouring, and sharing the fruits of the land. So, as the sun-dappled days of late summer stretch before us, take a moment to appreciate the abundant harvest of blackberries – a gift from the season that captures the very essence of its flavours and fragrances.

Learn more about foraging in autumn with our autumn foraging guide.

A Brief History of Crumble

The history of crumble is intricately woven into the culinary tapestry of the UK, tracing back to an era when modest, hearty dishes celebrated the bounty of the seasons. With its origins deeply grounded in British soil, crumble has transitioned from a pragmatic solution during times of scarcity to a cherished dessert that continues to grace tables across the nation.

The beginnings of crumble can be linked to World War II, a time characterized by rationing and austerity. As resources grew scarce, the need for inventive approaches to create satisfying meals became paramount. This gave rise to a dish that ingeniously combined readily available ingredients such as flour, butter, and sugar with seasonal fruits, resulting in a nourishing and fulfilling dessert. The crumble topping, comprising these fundamental pantry staples, not only introduced a delightful textural contrast but also offered a straightforward and effective method to enrobe the fruit.

Over the years, even as rationing subsided and prosperity returned, crumble maintained its popularity and evolved into an emblem of British comfort cuisine. Its allure stems from its adaptability – crumbles can be tailored to suit a range of fruits, aligning harmoniously with the changing seasons. Apples and blackberries, profoundly British in character, naturally found their way into crumble recipes, yielding a delightful marriage of flavours.

The charm of crumble equally rests in its rustic simplicity. Unlike intricate pastries or elaborate desserts, crumble remains accessible to cooks of all skill levels. Precision is not a prerequisite; rather, it invites a personal touch, encouraging variations in fruit choices, spice blends, and the quantity of crumble topping applied.

In the present day, crumble endures as a steadfast presence in British households and eateries alike. Its progression endures, as modern adaptations experiment with diverse ingredients, gluten-free alternatives, and innovative presentation styles. Nevertheless, at its core, crumble retains the essence of its modest beginnings – a celebration of the land's generosity and a testament to the ingenuity of British cooks throughout history.

When you embark on crafting a Blackberry and Apple Crumble, you're not solely indulging in a delectable dessert; you're also participating in a culinary heritage that has stood resilient through time. This dish, steeped in the United Kingdom's gastronomic legacy, embodies resourcefulness, seasonality, and the sheer joy of relishing unpretentious, nourishing fare.

Click the link to see our crafted with passion and precision, handmade-forged cooking knives.

Delicious Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Picture plump blackberries freshly foraged from hedgerows and crisp apples picked from roadsides or orchard trees. These fruits, each at their peak, mingle in a harmonious union of sweet and tart. Topped with a golden crumble, this dessert offers a delightful contrast of textures – the soft fruit beneath and the crunchy topping above.

Foraged Blackberry UK
Foraging Blackberries

This recipe celebrates the marriage of these quintessential late summer ingredients. It's about bringing together the natural sweetness of blackberries and the familiar warmth of baked apples. As you follow the simple steps, you'll create a dish that's both familiar and indulgent – a testament to the pure joy of enjoying good, wholesome food.

So, let's dive into this Blackberry and Apple Crumble recipe, where the essence of late summer meets the comfort of a classic dessert.

Find out what wild food is in season with our UK Foraging Calendar.

Blackberry and Apple Crumble Recipe


For the Filling:

600g foraged blackberries

450g apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (a mix of sweet and tart varieties)

125g caster sugar (adjust based on sweetness of fruit)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Crumble Topping:

125g plain flour

50g rolled oats

100g light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

115g unsalted butter, cold and cubed

50g chopped nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, or pecans)

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F).

  1. Prepare the Filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine the foraged blackberries, chopped apples, caster sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Gently toss to coat the fruit evenly.

  2. Transfer to Baking Dish: Grease a 23x23cm (9x9-inch) baking dish. Pour the prepared fruit mixture into the baking dish, spreading it out evenly.

  3. Make the Crumble Topping: In a bowl, mix together the plain flour, rolled oats, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the cold cubed butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts.

  4. Top the Fruit with Crumble: Evenly distribute the nut-studded crumble topping over the fruit mixture in the baking dish.

  5. Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling around the edges.

  6. Cool and Serve: Remove the crumble from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before serving. This will give the filling a chance to set. Serve warm as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

  7. Enjoy: Savor the delectable flavours and textures of your homemade blackberry and apple crumble with a nutty twist. The combination of fruit, crunchy nuts, and the aromatic crumble topping will make every bite delightful.

Get more wild food recipes by checking out our selection of Forager Cookbooks.

Enjoy a Crumble anytime of the Year

Using frozen fruit in place of foraged blackberries offers a convenient twist on the classic crumble, allowing you to enjoy the delectable combination of fruits throughout the year. Frozen blackberries and apples, carefully preserved at their peak freshness, seamlessly meld into the crumble's cozy embrace, providing the same burst of flavours as their fresh counterparts. The beauty of this adaptation lies in its ease – no need to wait for the fleeting blackberry season to relish the harmonious blend of sweet and tart. Embrace the versatility of frozen fruit, and let the oven work its magic, transforming the crumble into a warm, comforting dessert that embodies the essence of the changing seasons.

Love making desserts from Blackberries? Click to see our trio of blackberry desserts.

Other Foraged Crumble Combinations and Recipes

Blackberries are common and easy to find, but if you fancy using wild ingredients there is a myriad of crumble recipes and combinations you can try. Here is a few examples of other foraged crumble flavours.

Rhubarb and Elderflower Crumble:

Combine rhubarb and elderflowers for a crumble that balances rhubarb's tartness with the delicate floral notes of elderflowers. Enhance the flavours with a hint of lemon zest.

Hawthorn and Apple Crumble:

Mix foraged hawthorn berries with apples to create a crumble that marries hawthorn's slightly tangy taste with the sweetness of apples, resulting in a uniquely nutty profile.

Wild Berry Medley Crumble:

Gather a variety of berries, such as wild raspberries, bilberries, and currants, to create a crumble that bursts with diverse flavours and vibrant hues.

Plum and Sloe Berry Crumble:

Combine the rich sweetness of ripe plums or damsons with the distinctive bitterness of sloe berries, crafting a crumble that brings depth and character to the dessert.

Wild Bilberry and Nettle Crumble:

Introduce wild bilberries and young nettle leaves to create a crumble that combines sweet and earthy notes. The nettles contribute a touch of vivid green colour.

Blackcurrant and Meadowsweet Crumble:

Mix foraged blackcurrants with fragrant meadowsweet flowers, resulting in a crumble that's both tangy and aromatic.

Wild Apple and Wild Mint Crumble:

Employ wild apples and fresh wild mint leaves to infuse the crumble with a refreshing and zesty twist. The mint imparts a delightful burst of coolness.

Rowan Berry and Crab Apple Crumble:

Combine rowan berries with crab apples to achieve a crumble that's simultaneously tart and slightly bitter, imparting a complex and intriguing flavour profile.

Wild Strawberry and Wood Sorrel Crumble:

Pair wild strawberries with wood sorrel leaves for a crumble that's subtly tangy and refreshingly pleasant. Wood sorrel's citrusy notes beautifully complement the strawberries' sweetness.

Wild Rose Hip and Apple Crumble:

Incorporate rose hips and apples to create a crumble that combines subtle floral undertones with comforting sweetness. The rose hips contribute a distinctive layer of flavour.

These combinations showcase the charm of wild and foraged ingredients, offering a fresh take on the timeless crumble while fostering a connection to the natural world.

For the very best wild food guides check out our wild food and foraging books.

Summing Up

At the heart of British culinary tradition, the crumble stands as a symbol of modest comfort, a celebration of the land's generosity, and a testament to the art of resourceful cooking. As we delve into its history and explore its diverse incarnations, we unveil a rich tapestry that weaves together centuries of ingenuity and an unwavering connection to the changing seasons.

Emerging from the crucible of wartime scarcity, the crumble became a beacon of creativity, born from the necessity to transform basic pantry staples into a satisfying pudding. Through this humble requirement, the crumble's straightforward yet enduring formula of sweetened fruit topped with a rustic crumb topping was forged, showcasing the skill of making do with what was at hand. Yet its evolution didn't halt with rationing; it continued to flourish, shaping itself into a quintessential British delight that's cherished across generations.

At its core lies the classic Apple and Blackberry Crumble, a timeless pairing that captures the essence of late summer's offerings. The dark allure of blackberries, combined with the comforting familiarity of apples, creates a symphony of flavours that dances on the palate.

The crumble topping, with its golden, fragrant allure, crowns the dish with a satisfying contrast of textures, offering a medley of crunchy and tender mouthfuls. As we indulge in its unadorned splendour, we're transported not merely to the tastes of the present, but to the memories of family gatherings and cherished moments shared around the table.

Venturing further, we unearth a world of wild possibilities that infuse the crumble with the untamed spirit of nature. From the delicate floral notes of Elderflower and Rhubarb to the intriguing bitterness of Hawthorn and Apple, the crumble evolves into a canvas for the unexpected. Each wild ingredient brings its unique narrative to the table, echoing the rhythms of the natural world and inviting us to explore the subtleties of taste that reside beyond the cultivated.

These combinations, both traditional and unconventional, remind us of the harmony between human spirit and the earth's bounty. The crumble's journey through history, from wartime austerity to contemporary kitchens, reflects the enduring power of culinary ingenuity and the intimate connection between food and culture. With each mouthful, we taste not just the sweetness of fruits, but the essence of generations past and the promise of seasons yet to unfold.

As we relish every spoonful of crumble, whether it's the comforting apple and blackberry or an adventurous exploration of wild flavours, we pay homage to a tradition that celebrates the beauty of simplicity and the richness of nature's offerings. The crumble isn't just a pudding; it's a tale of resilience, resourcefulness, and the profound beauty of the British landscape. So let's continue to savour and share these moments of connection, where the past and present merge, all within the embrace of a warm, welcoming crumble.

Enjoyed this recipe? Why not try our Ultimate Wild Damson Cobbler recipe too.

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