Apple & blackberry crumble bars

This recipe is made frequently in my kitchen. In autumn and winter, I use spiced apples, pears or plums in the fruit filling, while in summer, I switch things up and use seasonal berries. I mix up the nuts and seeds I use in the crumble topping, too – you can take your pick from hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts: all will deliver the delicious crunch you're looking for.

In this recipe, I've used Bramley apples and blackberries, as I made it in October. I also added warming spices and vanilla to the filling – but this recipe is so versatile, you really can adapt it however you like.

Sometimes I like to serve scoops of this warm out the oven, with a dollop of ice-cream or custard as a warming pud. Or, I'll allow the mixture to cool completely and cut it into smaller bars, which make a nutritious snack, or a great breakfast option if you‘re in a rush.

15 minutes

55 minutes

40 minutes

18-24 small squares


For the mixed spice

4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp grated nutmeg

For the base

2½ cups rolled oats (gluten-free, if you like)

1½ cups ground almonds

¼ cup plant-based butter or coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

¼ cup maple syrup

Good pinch of salt

For the filling

3-4 Bramley apples (use 3 if they're large, 4 if smaller), peeled, cored and diced

1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries

⅓ cup maple syrup

1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumble topping

⅓ cup chopped pecan nuts

¼ cup pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3. Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper.
  2. Make your mixed spice by stirring together the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Now, make your base. Place the oats in a high-speed blender and blitz into a flour. Empty the flour into a large bowl, and add the rest of the base ingredients. Stir until fully combined – it should hold together when you pinch it. If not, add a splash or two of water until it comes together.
  4. Remove a cupful of the base mixture and set it aside. Empty the rest of the mixture into your baking dish, using your fingers to push it into the bottom as evenly as you can, and making sure it's completely covered.
  5. Next, make your filling. Place all the ingedients in a large bowl, add 1½ tsp of your mixed spice, and stir to combine. Tip the apple and blackberry mixture into the baking dish, and smooth over.
  6. Finally, make your crumble topping. Tip your cupful of reserved base mix into a bowl, and add the pecan nuts and pumpkin seeds. Rub together using your fingertips until evenly combined, then evenly sprinkle the crumble over the fruit mixture.
  7. Bake for around 40 mins, or until your crumble topping is lightly golden, and the fruit filling is bubbling.
  8. If you're serving this as a warm dessert, leave it to cool for a few mins before cutting large pieces. If you'd prefer smaller snack bars, leave the dish to cool completely before cutting into 18-24 squares.

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