Savory Pumpkin Crumble

It feels like a small eternity since my last post, and the person who threw away this recipe is partly to blame. I was so upset for having lost it and close to giving up my search, when I found it in the trash can of the bathroom. Who knows how it got there and what exactly made me look in there, but I am so relieved for having found it.

I made this crumble last week and while eating it, I said to my family that this is the recipe I want to be famous for. I had searched google forever to find a good savory pumpkin crumble recipe, but found mostly desserts and a few savory recipes that I didn’t really fancy. So I came up with this and I was so surprised and excited at the result that I made the above-mentioned, self-glorifying remark. You see, it doesn’t always work this way. I spend many hours in the kitchen experimenting, with frequent mediocre results. I usually keep trying until I am satisfied, but it takes a lot of time, patience, good will from the family and money. So when I get something right straight away (actually it was the second try in this case) I am thrilled.

Crumble until recently has meant dessert for me, usually with apples, rhubarb, berries or a combination of all. My mother-in-law taught me the basics years ago, which is flour, oats, brown sugar and butter. Simple, yet delicious. Since I am a nut-lover, I have alwyas added chopped almonds to this and experimented with walnuts, pine nuts, dairy- and sugar free versions, but the traditional version is still the best.

Last year, I have learned something invaluable from 101 Cookbooks. If you melt the butter before adding it to the dry ingredients, mix it all up and then put the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes, you get the crunchiest crumble topping. This method also allows for less butter with the same fabulous effect. So now instead of using one stick butter (113g) I use only 2/3 of it. I am so happy with this new technique, I might never go back to the dairy-free option.

So go ahead and try this. I would love to hear what you thought of the crumble. Don’t be shy…


Serves 8 as a side dish


  • 3 – 3 1/2 lbs. (1500g) butternut squash or other firm pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ (2.5 cm) chunks
  • 2 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″ (1 cm) chunks
  • 5 medium red or brown onions or large shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • olive oil

For the topping:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup rolled (not quick cooking) oats
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Butter a roughly 11″ X 8″ (30cm x 22cm) baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, chopped nuts, oats, Parmesan and salt. Drizzle melted butter over it and mix well with your hands. Squeeze topping into different size “Streusel” or crumbs. Place bowl in the freezer.

In the meantime, in a large pan or skillet, caramelize onions on low heat in 1 tablespoon butter and a little olive oil for 20-30 minutes. Stir frequently and don’t let the onions burn. They’ll turn lovely golden  and sweet.

Heat oven to 350F (180C).

After onions are caramelized, add herbs, salt and pepper. Add pumpkin and apple pieces, stir well, raise heat to medium, pour in white wine and cover. Cook, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, checking and gently stirring half way through. Pumpkin pieces don’t need to be fully cooked and should not fall apart.

Place pumpkin mixture in baking dish. Remove crumble topping from freezer and evenly distribute over the pumpkin.

Cover baking pan with aluminium foil or lid. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from oven when crumble topping looks crisp and golden. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Delicious with steamed vegetables and roast meat or fish.

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