Crumbling Under the Pressure

Talk about bad luck; Baking up a storm with less than a day standing between me and the ice cream party in Brooklyn, and disaster strikes. It’s a long story, but let me just tell you that I found myself with a sink full of glass and one less baking dish in my pantry. Flooded with regret and a mild sense of panic, having just broken a dish that had been a part of our family for even longer than I had been, a stunned silence pervaded my mind as I dropped each shard of glass into the trash bin, one by one. What to do, what to do. After a few moments of spinning my wheels unsuccessfully, the truth was became evident: I needed a new baking dish, as there were simply no others big enough to accommodate this crumble. Well, I was soon to find out that this was easier said than done.

Arriving at the local baking supply shop with a sense of urgency and my patient mother in tow, I searched fruitlessly for a matching dish. Employees soon came to my aide, offering up alternatives when the perfect pan didn’t present itself. A roasting pan? No, wrong shape. A jelly roll pan? No too shallow. So we departed with a bit more desperation than before, and ventured to the restaurant supply store. A myriad of fun gadgets and tools presented themselves, and I couldn’t help but poke a bit… But still, no baking dish. Off to investigate at a home supply store… but then, easily distracted as I am, I found myself in a spice shop instead. And then a Whole Foods. And then back at home, with no pan at all but plenty of groceries instead! Curse my wandering mind…

Finally, after going back out a few hours later once the sun had disappeared from the horizon, I secured an acceptable substitute- The only catch was, this model was much bigger than the original, and so the recipe had to be enlarged to follow suit. I must warn you, this makes a huge helping of dessert, and I feared that I would end up taking a good bit of it back with me after the party. Much to my delight and surprise, it was actually the first thing to go, even served cold! So, if you’re hosting a crowd and want an easy dish that will leave a smile on your guests’ faces, this one’s for you.

Just don’t go breaking that pan, or you might never find a replacement!

Apple Crumble for an Army

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Melted Margarine or Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Apple Juice Concentrate
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
12 Apples (6 tart, 6 sweet)
1 Cup Mixed Dried Fruit (Chopped into medium-sized pieces, if appropriate)
1 Cup Slivered Almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a large bowl and slowly drizzle in the melted margarine or oil while stirring. It will seem dry at first, but don’t be tempted to add more liquid- Soon you will have coarse crumbs that are plenty moist. Set this aside for the time being.

Moving on to the filling, whisk together everything but the fruits and nuts in a 17 x 12 baking dish. I started out using a large bowl, but it wouldn’t all fit, so save yourself the trouble of another dish to wash (this is the vessel that you’ll bake the crumble in, too.) Once that’s done, start peeling, coring, and slicing the apples (I used granny smith and fuji, by the way, but any mix you’d prefer would be equally tasty.) Put the apple slices in the mixture you’ve stirred up in the pan, and toss to coat thoroughly. Make sure you don’t leave any slices high and dry. When all the apples have been dealt with in a similar manner, stir in the dried fruit so that it’s evenly distributed (go for anything you’ve got in the house, but I happened to have dates, apricots, and currants on hand). Sprinkle the almonds over the top without stirring, and then sprinkle the oat mixture over that. Slide the whole thing into the oven for 40 – 50 minutes until browned and bubbly. Wait at least 10 minutes before serving and dish it out while still warm.

Serves 25 – 30

Printable Recipe

30 thoughts on “Crumbling Under the Pressure

  1. Looks wonderful! I love granny smith apples. I may try this but I think I’ll cut the recipe down a bit as I doubt I’ll be making it for that many people and if I made the entire recipe, I’d end up eating the most of it and that can’t be good for my waist. ;)

  2. I I think I’d at least have to halve the quantities, too, as I never bake for such big groups… it does look great though, the almonds and oats sound delicious in there! I’m not at all surprised that this was gone so quickly.
    I’ve never had a glass dish break on me, but it always sounds quite scary. I hope no one got hurt!

  3. Hmmm. My husband’s 30 is coming up and I’m organising a party. This may have to get made…

    Although – how much in weight is a cup? We don’t measure out like that over here in England!

  4. Ahhh, I haven’t made crumble in so long! I think I’ll make it for my family this weekend, thanks for the inspiration!

    That sucks about the baking pan, but don’t feel bad, accidents happen! And I’m sure you’ll stumble upon a suitable replacement when you’re not even looking for it.

  5. that sucks about your baking dish! the crumble sounds great though, I love the mixed dried fruit idea, I’ve always just used cranberries, but apricots and almonds in there? yummy!

  6. So sorry about your family baking dish. Time to start a new tradition with a new dish, right? That recipe looks great… I’m holding onto it for the next family party we have!!

  7. I must say you did not crumble under the pressure and found a substitute. Sometimes life is that way , I guess. I love apple crumbe anything and I’m not surprise that its the first to disappear. goes so well with ice cream.

  8. It does look delish, Hannah!!

    And I know what you mean, sweetie… I accidentally broke 2 wine glasses Joao and I got as a wedding gift – they were my favorites and now the set is incomplete. :(

  9. those people were lucky to have someone willing to go to any length to provide amazing food for them…the least they could do was gobble it up to prove to you your efforts were a success! way to go, it looks delicious.

  10. I’m so sorry about your dish! I have more moments like that in the kitchen than I care to recall…
    But now you have me wanting your crumble and a nice scoop of Wheeler’s ice cream on top!

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your broken dish. I felt your panic. But at least you had fun shopping with your mom, even if it felt quite desperate at some stage. I would have used two smaller pans just because my oven is not that big.

    Your crumple looks lovely, no wonder it was the first to go at the party!

  12. This would be a perfect dessert for a Fourth of July party. I can see it now …homemade vanilla ice cream and your apple crumble. :)

  13. So sorry to hear about your broken dish!! I have done that a few times and am always mad at myself for not being more careful. Looks like it all went just fine though, not a surprise that everyone mowed dowen that apple crumble!

  14. thanks alot Hannah! I was craving some of these, and I could feed an army of 27 classmates, but my oven isn’t big enough!

    Do I really need 3/4 cups of oil for the margarine? Seems like a pretty huge amount…

  15. I love the title; very poetic! I ate so much apple crumble today i thought i might explode. But it tasted so good I probably wouldn’t have minded. Next time I’ll definitely have to try this recipe, although I wonder if any apple crumble could be complete without cloves?
    Time will tell (well, making and eating it will tell…)

  16. Mm, that looks good… I might have to make some apple crumble before spring, as it seems a much more fall-winter dessert than spring-summer… there’s still snow on the ground here, even if it is melting fast!

  17. You just can’t beat a restaurant supply for entertainment. Those places are lovely to haunt. Glad you found your pan and thanks for the recipe! Wow. Very nice!

  18. […] as footnotes, a passing mention as an antiquated dessert with a funny name. For all the cobblers, crumbles, crisps, and pies out there, hardly anyone stops to consider making a slump, grunt, brown Betty, or […]

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