The Big Mistake You're Making With Your Fruit Crumble

Crumbles are one of the easiest desserts to make (via The Kitchn). Done right, they're also among the most delicious. Whether you're starting with seasonal stonefruit plucked straight from the tree or a bag of frozen berries, a crumble will showcase that fruit like no other. Who doesn't love a layer of oozing, jammy fruit piled with crispy, buttery streusel topping?

Maybe someone who doesn't know the secret to achieving the much sought-after perfectly crunchy crumble, that's who. Beginning bakers beware, there are several pitfalls that can ruin your crumble. In your quest for crunch, Southern Living warns against straying from the very important butter-to-flour-and-sugar ratio for the crumble topping — too much butter means a sodden mess, and not enough results in a dry disaster. Southern Living also suggests adding chopped nuts or oats to cheat your way to a crunchy topping against all odds. Some would call these fighting words: according to The Kitchn, oats belong in a crisp, not a crumble.

The New York Times says the biggest mistake you're making with your fruit crumble, however, is not baking your streusel topping before layering it onto the fruit. The error of your ways will be evident with each soggy (but still yummy) bite.

Double-bake your fruit crumble topping

For the crunchiest crumble ever, pre-baking the topping is the key. Otherwise, once in the oven, the crumble topping will mop up the fruit's juices like a sponge. The undersides of the topping never even had a chance to achieve their golden glory days. Give 'em a chance: Spread the crumble topping evenly on a sheet pan and bake until crisp. Then, and only then, layer the cookie-like crumble atop your sweet syrupy fruit. When baked together, the layers will now sing in harmony.

Epicurious recommends you keep a stash of pre-baked crumble topping in your freezer. That way, when facing a dessert emergency, you're so much closer to an apple crumble. But, emergency or not, this may result in a subpar dessert. The New York Times says the crunchiest of crumbles is achieved by pre-baking the topping on the same day you serve the dessert.