Bramble (blackberry) and banana spelt crumble

Fruit crumble is way easier than pie.

There, I said it. This may be sacrilege, especially to American connoisseurs of pie, but the British idea of a pie involves a lot of pastry—always—and sometimes … sometimes pastry is a place you just can’t go.

Crumble, however, is the easy bit of pastry without the iced water, the no-touch rule, the rolling and the cursing. Takes 5 minutes to make, 40 minutes to bake, and 10 minutes to eat, so as an emergency, no-fuss pudding, it’s close to perfect and hard to muck up.

Any combination of fruit will work as long as it works with itself. Traditional mixes include blackberry and apple, plum and stem ginger, rhubarb and ginger, gooseberry, or just plain apple. Today’s as you can see, is a less traditional pairing of bramble and banana. The banana worked surprisingly well with the brambles.

Brambles and sliced banana in an ovenproof basin

I added an extra layer of brambles on top here.

If you live in the countryside, the chances are you’ll find brambles for free. Otherwise I’d go with a cheaper fruit, since they’re about £3 a punnet in the supermarket.

We decided to have ours later on, after the evening dogwalk. Full of bright ideas, I even set the timer on the oven to come on while we were out so it would be baked on our return.

Shame I didn’t put the crumble in the oven.

Bramble (blackberry) and banana spelt crumble

Filling

  • 250-300g blackberries
  • 1 banana
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar

Topping

  • 130g spelt flour (any flour will do)
  • 20g oats
  • 80g cold unsalted butter
  • 70g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

2. Either rub the butter and flour together until it makes ‘breadcrumbs’ and then add the sugar and oats, or throw all the topping ingredients into a mixer and pulse it a few times until same. Either way, try not to over process it, or you’ll get a kind of biscuit topping. While still nice, it ain’t crumble.

3. Pour the fruit into an ovenproof basin, sprinkle sugar over, and spoon the topping over the lot. You want the topping to be about 1 inch/ 2.5cm deep.

4. Bake for about 40 mins, until the juice bubbles up around the sides, nice and jammy.

5. Serve with yoghurt, cream, or custard.