Crumble is essentially very sweet flavored pastry dough unmoistened so that it keeps its crumb consistency. No special tools are required; the ingredients can be combined with your fingers and no special attention is required – you can even make it while watching a segment of your favorite soap, from one set of adverts to the other – and it lasts for a long time in the fridge.
To teach your kids to make a crumble pie, the essential ingredients are crumble topping (see below), a frozen pie shell and a tin of fruit such as pears, peaches, rhubarb, plums, cherries, etc. or a can of apple or cherry pie filling and you will have a dessert they will love in moments.
The recipe below will provide more than ample topping for a 9 or 10” (22 or 25cm) round pie and costs less than $0.70. Any leftover crumble can be stored, covered in the fridge for another occasion. Other flavoring such as mace or nutmeg can also be used. For an even crunchier topping, add a few chopped nuts to the mix.
How to make a crumble topping
1 ½ cups (6oz / 170g) of flour
¾ cup (6oz / 170g) of sugar (or 18 sachets of sweetener)
6 tbsp (4oz / 110g) of margarine or soft butter
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ginger (optional)
Mix the flour, sugar and spices together in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the fat into small dice for ease of handling.
Dust your children’s fingers with flour and have them rub the flour mixture and the fat together with their fingertips until the flour and fat are fully mixed together with no large clumps and the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Up to two children can be occupied in this if the bowl is wide enough. It is fun for them to watch the breadcrumbs form and only takes a couple of moments.
How to make crumble fruit pie
A quick and simple dessert costing around $3.50-3.75 depending on whether you are using tinned fruit or a pie filling.
For a 9” pie (8 servings)
1 9” (22.5cm) pie shell (defrosted if pre-frozen)
1 21oz (600g) tin of fruit or pie filling
1 crumble topping recipe (see above)
Spices (optional, according to the fruit)
Take the pie crust out of the freezer to defrost. This will probably take around 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
If using canned fruit, drain the fruit (keep the juice or syrup for other use). If using pear or peach halves or large whole fruit, cut the fruit up into slices or small chunks.
When the pie shell has defrosted and the oven has heated, arrange the fruit or pie filling over the base of the pie crust and sprinkle over any spices you wish (e.g. cinnamon with pears, ginger with peaches, ginger and additional sugar for rhubarb, etc.).
Top the pie with the crumble topping, spreading the topping to the edges of the crust. Save any left-over topping in a sealable jar for later use.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 450°F (230°C) then turn the heat down to 350°F (180°C) and bake for a further 30-40 minutes until the pie is golden.
Serve with Cool Whip, ice cream or hot pouring custard.
Taste the filling to determine if any additional sweetening is required.