Fruit Crumble

Fruit crumble, an all time favourite, with variations making it suitable for Fodmap, Gluten Free, Nut free, Paleo and Vegan diets.

Crumble was one of the top five desserts (puds) in my childhood. It was the apple crumble that was ‘top of the pops’ largely because of a regular supply of prime apples from my grandfather who had an orchard. It was such a favourite in our family that one evening, after much badgering, my mother said she would cook apple crumble every night until we got sick of it. That was a challenge her five children and dessert-loving husband could not resist! After 6 weeks of peeling and stewing literally hundreds of pounds of apples she gave up. A good thing for my waistline, because I did not have the willpower to resist dessert, especially when urged on by my three brothers. Avoiding dessert is now much easier because I have to cook it myself, though I have enjoyed reliving repeated crumbles as I developed this tasty ‘free from’ crumble recipe.

I liked the texture of the oats in our family recipe and I have used mum’s recipe of a flour, oats, brown sugar and butter mix as the basis. Many Gluten Free individuals can eat Gluten Free oats; but if they are not suitable you can be select from the numerous grains I have listed below under ‘Notes’. The sunflower seeds provide more crunch; and, if there are no nut allergies, walnuts or almonds (not for Fodmap) are a tasty addition. Coconut oil has replaced the butter; or you can use vegetable oils; or a nut oil if there is no nut allergy. The resulting texture is crumbly, as the name suggests. To help bind the ingredients you can add cornflour or coconut flour, although this is optional. The coconut flour is a good addition to this recipe and is available in quite a few health food shops. It absorbs a lot of moisture, in this case oil, so use it sparingly if you are wanting a lower fat crumble.

When selecting fruit, choose seasonally and add spices for interesting flavours, eg clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or star anise. For Fodmap diets, rhubarb (try Rhubarb, Baked with Ginger) and most berry fruits (not blackberries) are suitable.

Experiment and enjoy the endless variations.

Diets for which Fruit Crumble is suitable:

Dairy Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Paleo, Vegan and Vegetarian.


Preparation: 10 mins | Cooking: 15 + 30 mins | Serves: 4-6

1 kg (2 lb) fruit*
4 cloves**
80 gm coconut oil
100 gm (1 cup) rolled oats (Gluten Free and Paleo diets see notes)***
50 gm (2/3 cup) coconut, dessicated
50 gm (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
70 gm (1/3cup) brown sugar
30 gm (3 tbsp) cornflour or coconut flour
1 tsp ginger powder**


PREHEAT the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
PEEL, core and cut fruit.
COOK the fruit (I do not pre-cook berries) and spices in 3-4 tbsp water over a moderate heat. (Stir during the 10-15 minutes.)
MELT the coconut oil.
GRIND the sunflower seeds in a food processor or pestle and mortar. (Ensure nut free equipment is used if cooking for a Gluten Free diet.)
MIX oil with the oats, brown sugar, coconut, ground sunflower seeds, cornflour and spices.
FILL 2/3 baking dish with fruit and top with crumble. (Do not use all the topping for a more fruit-based dessert.)
BAKE for approximately 30 minutes. (The crumble will brown lightly and the fruit juices may bubble up.)


– Warm with cream, ice cream or custard (select appropriate for the diet)


* For Fodmap diet berry fruits (not blackberries) and rhubarb are suitable. Quantity of fruit is personal choice.
** Selection of spices is personal preference and dependant on the fruit.
*** Gluten Free diets select Gluten Free oats, millet flakes, puffed rice, quinoa flakes or buckwheat flakes. Use a comparable volume of cereal (measure do not weigh). For Paleo diet select coconut flour and add more nuts for a crusty topping that will crumble.

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