Apple Oat Crumble - A Scottish French Alliance

Apple Oat Crumble made like the French with extra butter but topped with Scottish porridge oats and served on its own. OK, you may just want to top with Chantilly cream or Crème Anglaise but the Parisians like it plain.

Apple oat crumble French styleWho would have thought that the good old Apple Crumble would be so popular in Paris these days? The best of our humble British warm puddings has been popping up on French blackboards for winter specials of the day for either dessert – or even teatime.

What’s more, the French manage to make it sound so romantic, so wonderfully French with the soft roll of the tongue around “Crum-beulle” or Crum-belle. Beautiful, isn’t it?

What? Apple Oat Crumble Served on its own?

Unlike how we serve it back home in Scotland with good, homemade vanilla custard, the French don’t even serve it with their runnier version called Crème Anglaise. Instead it’s either served with a scoop (boule) of ice cream, some whipped Chantilly cream, or mostly just comme ça – entirely on its own.

What? Mon Dieu. No custard? Served on its own?

With enough butter, anything is good.”  Julia Child

Apple oat tatin crumble

Julia wasn’t the only chef to notice just how much the French love their butter; that’s the secret to their crumbles eaten sec without any toppings.

If you do have access to gooseberries or blackberries/brambles (fresh or frozen) then combine them with the apples. Individual crumbles are also perfect for teatime.  Here, I baked them for the same amount of time as the family size, and it was so caramelised, you could call it a Crumble Tatin!

Crumble Recipe with Oats

For that touch of Scotland, to keep up the Old Alliance with the French and the Scots, I love just a touch of oats to the crumble – almost like a Scottish Frushie, an old Scots word for crumble. And just about forgot to mention that the Apple Oat Crumble topping freezes so well.  Make double quantity and freeze the rest (unbaked) for an extra speedy weekday dessert!


Teatime in Paris

Now and again, I’ll be introducing you to some of the recipes in Teatime in Paris, showing you more ideas how you can serve the treats in the book – and now there’s a new Pinterest Board, “Baking with Teatime in Paris” to accompany it.

Choux Apple Crumbles

Trust the French to come up with a light film of crumble that sticks so wonderfully to a puff of choux pastry, known as craquelin. The full recipe and step-by-step instructions are in Teatime in Paris, but the other day I filled the puffs with the filling from this apple crumble.

stuff choux crumbles with the blitzed apple filling

Fill the choux cavities with the apple filling that’s blitzed to a compôte

I simply blitzed it in the mixer to turn it into a rather special compôte.  As it’s extra light, I would urge you to serve a small dollop on top of Calvados cream or a simple scoosh of Chantilly cream – and why not decorate the plate with a spooned flash of salted caramel sauce (caramel au beurre salé) and top with an edible flower?

apple crumble French choux presentation - Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna

Love Apple Crumble? Then try this recipe for French Apple Crumble Cake!

French Apple Crumble Cake

Apple oat crumble French style

Apple Oat Crumble

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course : Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine : British, Scottish, French
Keyword : apple crumble recipe, oat crumble recipe
Servings : 4 people


Apple Oat Crumble made like the French with extra butter but topped with Scottish porridge oats and served on its own.


Oat Crumble Topping

  • 100 g (3.5oz) Medium porridge oats
  • 100 g (3.5oz) plain (all-purpose) flour (or use a gluten free flour)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) soft light brown sugar
  • good pinch fleur de sel salt
  • 100 g (3.5oz) butter, unsalted

Apple Crumble Filling

  • 1 kg (5-6) Apples (Granny Smith, French Delicious)or mix of fruits with berries/rhubarb
  • 30 g (1oz) butter, unsalted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar optional


  • Combine all the crumble ingredients an a large bowl, lightly rubbing through your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside. (I often make double quantities of crumble and at this point freeze the other half for an extra speedy dessert next time!)
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
  • Peel, core and chop up the apples roughly into chunks. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, toss in the apple chunks and sprinkle over the sugar.  Leave to cook over a medium heat, turning the apples in the butter and sugar now and again, for about 8-10 minutes.  The apples should not be mushy, just cooked and lightly caramelised.
  • Transfer to a 24cm deep gratin or pudding dish (no need to butter it) and sprinkle on a generous amount of crumble until the apples are completely covered.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is toasted or lightly browned.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.


Serve on its own, with vanilla ice cream, custard, or for the adults, with a Calvados/Drambuie ice cream. Also delicious with a layer of mincemeat.

From the market

From the kitchen

12 responses to “Apple Oat Crumble – A Scottish French Alliance”

  1. The frushie recipe works very well. Depending on the dish used, the crumble may be a bit thin compared to Scots tradition. Didn’t quite cover the fruit when I followed the recipe quantities. Around 50% more on the crumble ingredients works better in the oven dishes I have. Rhubarb is great as the fruit to use.

    • Hello Iain,
      Glad you like the recipe – thanks for your feedback. As a result I’ve edited the recipe to include that I use a 24cm round deep gratin dish. Agreed, all dishes are different but, even with all of mine, I even have a bit leftover crumble, as we love just enough to hide all the fruit but still have plenty of fruit underneath. Agreed on the rhubarb – it’s great!

  2. Pink Rhubarb and Ginger Compote | Mad about Macarons! Le Teatime Blog in Paris says:

    […] lovely pink rhubarb we had in Scotland when I was little, especially when it found its way into comforting fruit crumbles with a cheeky hint of ginger. But I can’t help feeling disappointed; somehow the rhubarb we […]

  3. I Love French crumbulle
    Especially with a smoosh and a dallop of vanilla!
    I shall admire from afar your ‘individuals’. I never heard that term used with pastry till moving to France. So how come a Scottish individual is losing her voting rights? Not fair.

    • Well if you’d been in the restaurant last night, they didn’t serve it with any smooth or vanilla. The French way since it was not dry at all with the extra butter, Carol. But I know you’d have asked for it, something I’ve never been able to do, hehe. Yep, not fair on the voting but perhaps it’s for a good thing. Sign should become French after 24 years?

  4. Jill, I’m so sorry to hear about the voting issue. Voting is one of the prime rights we have as human beings. Any chance for change?

    The crumble looks beautiful and so pottery! This post also reminds me that I need to find a copy of your book, Teatime in Paris. I’m assuming in I’ll be able to find it on

    • Thanks David. Yes, it’s rather frustrating with the votes and looks like it won’t change. It’s me that needs to now. Perhaps become French after all those years? Have a French family now anyway. Yes, thanks – you can find it on Amazon – even easier, there’s a link to it on the homepage of this site – not even Affiliate links 😉 Have a super weekend x

  5. Oh, how I love an apple crumble! And I’m now going to have to serve mine with vanilla custard—soooooo yummy!!!

    • Well guess there are some folk that still prefer it with custard, Liz 😉

  6. First of all, that’s terrible about you losing your voting rights, Jill! There are so many things in government policies that are so unfair, so I can’t say I’m surprised 🙁 Dealing with some of it here, right now.

    Secondly, what a genius idea to make the apples as in Tarte Tatin for the crumble! I’m doing this today because I have Granny Smith apples sitting on the counter ready to be made into apple sauce by my mother (her idea, not mine!) 😉

    I also adore those little apple crumble Choux Puffs! Those crumbly tops have had me smitten since I first saw them in your book!

    Thanks for the wonderful recipes, as always! You’re a gem! CC

    • Thanks Christina. Just wondering about what to do. British Embassy are not responding, funnily enough.
      So happy to hear you like the tatin idea. Last night was taken by surprise in a bistrot restau in Paris (Le Baratin, 20th) that top of the dessert menu was …. apple crumble! Took it on Instagram and guess what? It was just more buttery like this – and served completely on its own! Appreciate you taking the time to read this – bon weekend x

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