Preparation time: 15-20 min.
Cooking time: 45 min.
Easy - for beginners
A simple and delicious crumble (aka, crisp) recipe calibrated so that the measures are either 1, 3, or 1/3. That way you can remember it when the internet is down and you can't access Recipe Binder. Rhubarb, plums, peaches, apples, all work well here.
Chop fruit into 3/4" chunks (except apples, which should be in 1/4" slices). Avoid the temptation to add more than a quart of fruit, since this will cause the crumble to bubble over. Stir in tapioca or flour and sugar. I prefer flour for apples, tapioca for everything else. The amount of sugar will depend on the tartness of fruit, more for rhubarb, boysenberries, and plums, less for apples and peaches. Allow to macerate 1 hour.
Put rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice cold butter into 1 tablespoon chunks and then cut it into the flour using a pastry blender or by rubbing it between your fingertips. It should be the consistency of large peas. Stir in sugar (and small pinch of salt if the butter is unsalted). Then sprinkle water over mixture and knead lightly with fingertips until it comes together into larger chunks.
Scrape the fruit into the bottom of a glass or ceramic 9" pie plate and distribute topping over it. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet or piece of foil in case it bubbles over. Bake in top third of oven for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown (but don’t let the fruit juices on the sides carmelize).
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
© 2011 Scott Mossman