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Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

A traditional Scottish crumble made with frozen blackberries, fresh pears, with oats added into the crumble for that wonderful crisp and crumbly texture. Naturally dairy-free.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble in a square ovenproof dish

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

I have to start by saying this is the best crumble I've ever made and I've made lots of crumbles. 

Crumbles I have made

To say I love crumble is understating the fact.

I even have a 5 minute (all-in) Microwave Blackberry Crumble Pudding.

Crumble is a traditional Scottish dessert that's utterly comforting and so easy to make.

This one was so good, I started laughing with each mouthful. I just couldn't believe how gorgeous this combination tasted. 

I must have looked insane! 

Luckily I was alone and just sampling it at this point.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble served up in bowls with custard

The history of Scottish fruit crumble

Fruit crumbles were invented during the second world war, when there was strict food rationing. 

Up and down the UK, crumbles were made with fruit from the garden or local fruit trees and topped with a crumbly mixture made of flour, butter and sugar.

These are the same ingredients that are used to make a pastry pie, which was the kind of pie popular before the war, but the crumble used less ingredients, making rations go further.

In Scotland oats, which have always grown abundantly, were added which further stretched the ingredients, making it an even more frugal dessert.

Not only did the oats make a crisp crumble topping, but it gave a pleasant nutty flavour to the topping, which often made up for the lack of sugar.

Frozen blackberries in clear bowl

Is crumble made with fresh or frozen fruit?

Crumble can be made with fresh or frozen fruit. You can even used tinned (canned) fruit to make a delicious crumble.

For this recipe, I used frozen blackberries as they are out of season right now (they grow from late summer to autumn here in Scotland) and fresh pears (which are coming to the end of their season).

Can crumble be made in advance?

Yes, you can make crumble in advance, but don't make the whole crumble and assemble it. 

A fully assembled crumble will go soggy while it sits in the fridge. 

That previously crisp topping will sook (suck) up all the fruit juice and not be crisp any more.

So if you're making it in advance, keep the fruit and topping stored separately and combine them just ahead of baking.

How long can crumble topping be stored for?

A freshly made crumble topping can be stored (separately from the fruit filling) in the fridge to be used the next day or stored in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

After that ice crystals will start to form.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crisp served up with custard

What temperature should a crumble be cooked at?

A crumble should be baked at a moderate temperature. 

Preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/400f/gas mark 6.

If you bake it at too high a temperature, the crumble will bake quickly, but the fruit won't have time to cook through and the crumble can burn too, which you don't want.

If you bake it too low it will dry out the crumble.

Medium and steady works best.

How should cooked crumble be stored?

Leftover cooked crumble can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Place some kitchen paper over the crumble to absorb any moisture and wrap the dish loosely with clingfilm or tinfoil.

When you are ready to serve it, remove the covering and heat in the microwave or heat gently in the oven topped with foil so the crumble topping doesn't brown any further.

Can crumble be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze crumble. 

Make up the crumble, assemble and wrap in freezer-safe clingfilm (wrap) or pop in a sealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Remove the wrap and bake from frozen.

Close up of Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

Fruit Crumble Tips

Why is my crumble not crumbly?

If your crumble is dry and not crumbly, it means you don't have enough dairy-free spread (or butter if you are making a vegetarian crumble).

Why is my crumble greasy?

If your crumble is greasy, it means you have added to much fat (dairy-free spread or butter) to the crumble mixture.

Overhead shot of Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble and custard

What is the difference between a crumble and a crisp?

Crumble is a British term for this popular pudding. It is often called a fruit crisp in America. 

Sometimes the US version of a crumble or crisp topping has a crunchy granola added to the topping mixture.

Funnily enough what we call apple crisps would be called apple chips in the US. Thin slices of fried or baked apples.

What should a crumble be served with?

A traditional crumble is usually served with ice cream or hot custard.

However, some people like to serve fruit crumble with cold custard or even pouring cream.

Is a crumble healthy?

As desserts go, crumbles are healthier than most. It does contain some sugar and fat, but it also contains lots of fruit and in a Scottish crumble, oats, so it is a fairly healthy option. 

Much healthier than a chocolate cake, cheesecake or ice cream.

To make it even healthier, make it in small ramekins (portion control) and serve with yoghurt instead of ice cream or custard.

You don't want to cut down the sugar in the crumble topping too much for a successful crisp finish, but you can reduce it. 

You can also reduce the sugar added to the fruit or use a sweetener instead.

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Step-by-step photos

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 1 - blackberries
Step 1 - Blackberries

Place frozen blackberries in a large ovenproof dish. There is no need to defrost them first. Add a little sugar and pop them in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 2 - flour
Step 2 - Flour

While the blackberries are in the oven make the crumble topping. 

Add plain (all-purpose) flour to a large bowl.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 3 - oats
Step 3 - Oats

Add oats to the bowl. You want to use porridge oats to the crumble mix and not oatmeal. 

Oatmeal is too fine and you're looking for a bit of texture in the crumble topping.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 4 - sugar
Step 4 - Sugar

Add sugar to the crumble topping. Brown sugar is the best sugar to use for a crumble topping as it gives a wonderful caramel flavour and you end up with little bits, almost like toffee.

I like to use demerara sugar, but other brown sugar can be used.

Once the sugar has been added, give the mixture a good mix.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 5 - fat
Step 5 - Fat

The traditional fat used in a fruit crumble is butter, but as this is a vegan crumble, I'm adding a dairy-free spread (margarine).

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 6 - crumble
Step 6 - Crumble

You want to be light of hand when making a crumble topping and not overwork it.

With clean hands, use your fingertips to rub the dairy-free spread into the flour mixture lightly until you have a crumble topping, with all the flour mix combined.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 7 - blackberries
Step 7 - Cooked Blackberries

Take the blackberries out of the oven, they should be a little softer now and when you stir them they will release juice.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 8 - sliced pears
Step 8 - Sliced Pears

Add slices of peeled, ripe pear to the baking dish.

If your pears are hard, you may need to pop them in the oven with the blackberries to soften them a little. Ripe pears can be added at this stage with no cooking.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 9 - mix fruit
Step 9 - Mixed Fruit

Once the pear is added to the ovenproof dish, give them a stir to mix them with the berries and to distribute the berry juice.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 10 - crumble
Step 10 - Crumble Topping

Cover all the fruit with the crumble topping. 

Don't smooth it out. you will get a better finish if it is uneven, thicker in some areas than others. Just make sure the fruit is covered.

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble - Step 11 - bake
Step 11 - Bake

Pop your fruit crumble in a preheated, moderate oven and bake until the crumble topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling at the edges.

Serve while hot and enjoy!

fruit crumble, blackberry crumble, pear crumble, fruit crisp, blackberry crisp, pear crisp, vegan fruit crumble, vegan fruit crisp, Scottish pudding, Scottish dessert, British pudding, pudding, fruit pudding, blackberry pudding, blackberry pie
Scottish, vegan
Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

A traditional Scottish crumble made with frozen blackberries, fresh pears, with oats added into the crumble for that wonderful crisp and crumbly texture. Naturally dairy-free and vegan.
prep time: 12 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 32 M


  • 350g/ 12oz frozen blackberries
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100g/ ¾ cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 50g/ ½ cup porridge oats
  • 100g/ ½ cup demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g/6 tbsp dairy free spread


How to cook Scottish Blackberry & Pear Crumble

  1. Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan/400f/gas mark 6.
  2. Pour the frozen blackberries into a large ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the caster sugar and pop them in the oven to lightly cook for 10 minutes.
  3. While the blackberries are in the oven make the crumble topping. In a large bowl combine the flour, porridge oats and sugar.
  4. Add the dairy-free spread and with clean hands, rub into the flour mixture with the tips of your finger until it resembles a crumble topping. Make sure all the flour mixture is rubbed in.
  5. Take the dish of blackberries out of the oven and stir in the pear slices.
  6. Top with the crumble mixture, covering all the fruit, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumble is crisp and golden.
  7. Serve with vegan vanilla ice cream or custard.
  8. Enjoy!


Crumble can be made the day ahead, but store the crumble topping in an air-tight container, separate from the topping. If they are stored in the fridge as a finished layered crumble, the crumble will soak up the juices and go soggy.

Once the crumble is made it can be frozen, then baked from frozen. It can be stored (covered) in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Leftover cooked crumble can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Cover it lightly with kitchen paper to absorb any liquid then wrap loosely with clingfilm (wrap) or foil.

Reheat leftover crumble in a microwave or heated gently in the oven covered with foil to prevent further browning of the crumble topping.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

For more Scottish recipes have a look at my recipe index of Scottish Recipes for Vegans and Vegetarians


  1. Such an easy and delicious recipe to make! I love desserts utilizing our fruits, and ingredients on hand. This is definitely a great weeknight, or brunch, or anytime dessert!

    1. Sorry for the later reply, just spotted your comment. I hope you enjoy the recipe Tamara.

  2. My daughter and I love crumble. it has to be our favourite dessert. I will definitely try this one. Jill

  3. Love the step by step photos in this - will make it so easy to follow the recipe (which looks mouthwateringly delish!)

    1. Thanks and I am glad they help. I hop you try them.

  4. This pear & blackberry crumble is a perfect dessert for these cold winter days! Can't wait to recreate this recipe at home x

    1. I hope you try it and enjoy it. It is definitely my favourite now.

  5. Merry Christmas… fab recipe 👋👋👋could I use fresh blackberries? As they are in season right now. If it would work which is the best method to cook the crumble with fresh blackberries?
    Re;- Porridge oats… a minefield! So many ddifferent ones… Rolled oats, 3 minute cook oats, 1 minute fast cook oats, traditional steel cut oats. Which do you recommend? Thank you.

    1. Fresh blackberries are fine, just use them instead. Rolled oats will be fine too.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x