Last updated on January 26th, 2021
Written and Photographed by Rebecca Peters-Golden
Whenever I watch cooking shows like Chopped, where the challenge is to make something amazing with limited ingredients, I find myself thinking, “Oh, yeah, I would love to do that!”
And yet, somehow, every time I unpack my grocery bags only to realize I’ve forgotten a key ingredient in what I was about to make, I find myself swearing a blue streak, often with frustrated foot-stomping.
But, if there is one truth I have come to accept about myself over the years, it’s that I would rather exert a huge amount of effort in the kitchen than the small amount it would take to go out and buy the ingredient I’m missing. Hey, know thyself, right?
A few years ago, I was having friends over for dinner. I’d planned my menu, gone to the grocery store, and had everything ready. Or so I thought—cue the theme from Jaws.
I began to make my deliciously autumnal apple crumble with the apples I’d picked the day before, but when I got to the topping, I found I was out of butter. How could this have happened, I whined?
I pawed through my fridge, freezer, and pantry, looking for a butter substitute—nothing. I cursed myself for being a loner shut-in who wasn’t friends with a neighbor I could borrow from.
My guests were due any minute, so I couldn’t run out to the store. But then . . . then I looked in the fridge and saw that I did have blue cheese.
Could I use blue cheese in my topping instead of butter? It’s a similar consistency; it would blend with sugar, nuts, and oats, wouldn’t it?
Reader, I used it.
It wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot: it was overpowering and got a little too melty, so it trickled down into the fruit. Still, the taste was interesting. I decided to try it again.
The blue cheese apple crumble recipe I’ve perfected only has a hint of the cheese’s savory richness to complement the mild fruit and autumnal spice.
This recipe works well well with pears, too, my other favorite fruit for a crumble. I’ve also used brie in place of the blue cheese for both, which is excellent; I mix chunks of it into the topping, rather than blending it, which gunks up the food processor.
With apple season just around the corner, why not spice up your crumbles with the best year-round ingredient: blue cheese!
- 5-6 medium apples or pears
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces; 105 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from half a lemon)
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2/3 cup (140 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Core and seed the fruit and chop into rough 1/2-inch cubes.
- Stir the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, bourbon, lemon juice, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Add the fruit and toss until combined.
- Pour into a deep 2-quart baking dish.
- Add the butter, sugar, oats, pecans, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse just until blended into a crumb-like consistency. If you blend too much, it will become a paste.
- Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until your topping is toasty and golden brown.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 8gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.