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Five Spice Apple Crumble

Five Spice Apple Crumble. New twist on a comfort food classic using Chinese five spice powder to fragrantly add remarkably delicious complementary flavour.

Five Spice Apple Crumble

Five Spice Apple Crumble

Today’s recipe is a slight variation on my standard apple crumble recipe, but a small change that makes a big difference. The simple addition of Chinese 5 spice powder makes for a delicious aromatic apple crumble. Five spice powder combines Chinese cinnamon with anise, cloves, ginger and fennel in a delicious balance that actually works very well with apples.

The neighbours might be breaking down your door for a dinner invitation if they get a whiff of this dessert baking. It is a real treat for the nostrils as well! The addition of a scoop of french vanilla ice cream is in no way optional. 😉 The perfect fall or winter dessert.

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Five Spice Apple Crumble
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
A unique twist on an Apple Crumble using Chinese five spice powder in addition to cinnamon for an incredibly fragrant flavour infusion.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8
Author: Barry C. Parsons
For the fruit layer
  • 8 small to medium sized apples
  • cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
For the crumble layer
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup large rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup cold butter cut in small cubes
To prepare the apple layer
  1. Peel, core and cut the apples into thick wedges.
  2. Mix together the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and Five Spice Powder until well combined then toss together with the apples.
  3. Stir together the melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour over the apples and once again, toss together well.
  4. Transfer the prepared apples to an ungreased 8x8 glass baking dish or one of similar size. I sometimes use a deep dish pie pan.
To prepare the oatmeal crumble top
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and rolled oats. Rub this together with your hands to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.
  3. Add the cubes of cold butter and start pinching them together with your fingertips and incorporating them into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a a ball like cookie dough.
  4. Press small handfuls of the dough into balls, then break off small pieces of the dough, about the size of the top of your thumb, and scatter them evenly all over the surface of the prepared apple layer. Do not press them down at all. They will settle naturally as the crumble bakes. This is key to getting a crispy crumble.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. The apple layer should be bubbling and the surface of the crumble should be an even medium golden brown. If you are using a shallower, slightly larger baking pan like a 9x9, watch it closely, the crumble may be done in 5 or 10 minutes less time.
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Joan Milley

Monday 21st of September 2020

Where would I find the Chinese 5 spice? I have heard of it, but I’ve never actually seen it in a store. Thanks

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