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Bake Your Own...Fruit Crumble

Baking is great. You have rules, you follow said rules, you achieve a result. Who wouldn’t love that?! For me, having guidelines is so SO welcome…I’m a serial rule follower, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that while rules are great and guidelines are great, sometimes it’s even better to just go with the flow and let your judgement guide you to create something even better.

As we roll into Labor Day, I’m going to throw something out there for you to try and, like well cooked pasta on a wall, hope it sticks. Below I’ll describe my adventure adapting a recipe to make it my own and will give you the shell of a recipe to experiment with and do the same. I’ll also give you the recipe for my crumble in case you don’t feel like experimenting and want to try the DELICIOUS creation I stumbled upon.

The other day I had an idea…what if I didn’t follow a recipe exactly the way it was written, but used the foods I had that I knew worked well together to adapt a recipe for a crumble into something completely different? At Bake Me A Leader®, you’ll hear me talk about adaptability often. Being able to adapt, create, learn, reflect, and grow is critical for success…and you can practice all of those things in the kitchen.

The original recipe was for a mango rhubarb crumble, which was delicious when I made it a few years ago, but I didn’t have mango and didn’t feel like going to the store…I also didn’t want to make a pie that day because, well, pie crust from scratch takes time and I wanted to whip something up quickly.

Before we talk about where the innovation comes into play, I will say that there are a few things I always have on hand in the kitchen aside from the traditional baking staples (flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract)…cornstarch, citrus - usually lemons, and some sort of not-instant/fast cooking rolled oats.

While examining the ingredients I did have, I decided that I was going to make a blueberry, nectarine, rhubarb crumble - with lime instead of lemon, because, well, that’s the citrus I had on hand and knew I liked lime with those other flavors. One really exciting thing about the rhubarb I had, is that it came from my boyfriend’s grandparents’ rhubarb patch…I was so excited to use it, but didn’t have a ton of time before it went bad which is why I had to act fast. I also didn’t have old-fashioned rolled oats (I didn’t have any post moving across the country…again, bad move), but did have Trader Joe’s Ancient Grain & Super Seed Oatmeal (which has flax, chia, seeds, etc. in it).

I hope you enjoy the challenge…please share your pictures, ideas, questions, comments and let me know how I can help you build something amazing!

Build Your Own Crumble Recipe


Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

  • 1 cup oats (get creative here! I used the Trader Joe’s oats listed above)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • Salt (just a pinch, optional)

Crumble Filling:

  • 5 cups assorted fresh fruit/pie fillings, cubed/diced or as-is for berries

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 lemon - juice & zest (see notes below on citrus substitutions)

How to Make Bake Me A Leader's Recipe:

1. Fruit: I used 2 cups cubed rhubarb, 2 cups blueberries, 1 cup diced nectarines.

2. Citrus: I used 2 limes, but you could use any citrus here if you think it will go with your flavors!…1/4-1/2 of an orange would work too, you just want the size of your citrus to be comparable to the size of one lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F + Grease a 9 inch deep dish pie plate (or find a comparable casserole or oven-safe dish - I used a super deep 8 inch round dish as you can see in the pics)

  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly

  3. Stir together dry ingredients for the crumble topping and then mix in the melted butter until fully incorporated. Refrigerate topping until you are ready to bake.

  4. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients for the filling. Pour mixture into your prepped baking dish. Spread topping evenly over the fruit mixture.

  5. Place dish into the preheated oven and bake approximately 40-50 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up along the sides. (Take note that not all fruits will bubble equally…for example, berries tend to burst and bubble more when cooked, as opposed to the rhubarb I used which has less moisture)

  6. Remove your masterpiece from the oven when it's finished cooking and cool it slightly before serving.

Pro-Tip: If you notice that the topping begins to brown faster than you want it to, you can tent the dish with tinfoil to protect the topping from browning too much more.

The leftovers are GREAT with coffee for breakfast!
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