Pear and Blackberry Crumble

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Times Cookbook

The Times Cookbook

By Frances Bissell

Published 1995

  • About

Crumbles are very easy, homely puddings to make, and they are very popular indeed. The same dish is called a crisp, not a crumble, in America. They are best served warm with chilled cream, crème fraîche or thick yoghurt.


  • 4 oz / 110 g unsalted butter
  • 1 lb / 455 g pears
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 6 oz / 170 g plain flour
  • 4 oz / 110 g blackberries


Use a quarter of the butter to butter a pie dish. Peel, core and slice the pears. Toss them in lemon juice to prevent them browning, and sprinkle with half the sugar so that a good syrup is produced, and then put them in the pie dish. Dot with another 1 oz / 30 g of the butter. Rub the remaining butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining sugar. Mix the blackberries in with the pears, and spoon the crumble mixture on top, pressing it down a little. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4 for 30 minutes or so, until the crumble topping is golden.


These are almost limitless, but some of my favourite substitutes for the pears and blackberries include gooseberries, plums and chopped hazelnuts, cherries with chopped almonds and kirsch, pears and chopped crystallized ginger, rhubarb and flaked almonds, blackcurrants and chopped mint leaves, and the very unusual combination of bananas and mangos, flavoured with rum, with coconut added to the crumble topping. Spices and chopped or ground nuts can be added to the topping mixture of any crumble if you wish.