A crumble is a dish of British and Irish origin that can be made in a sweet or savory version, depending on ingredients used, although the sweet version is much more common. It also can be traced to American cuisine during the European colonization of the Americas. A sweet variety usually contains stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour, and sugar. The crumble is baked in an oven until the topping is crisp.
The dessert variety is often served with hot pouring custard, creamor ice creamas a hearty, warm dessert after a meal. Popular fruits used in crumbles include apple, blackberry, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry, and plum. The topping may also include rolled oats, ground almonds or other nuts. Brown sugar is often sprinkled over the crumble topping, which caramelizes slightly when baked. In some recipes the topping is made from broken biscuits(cookies in American English) or even breakfast cereals, but this is not traditional.
Crumbles originated in Britain during World War II due to strict rationing the ingredients required to make the bases of pies contained too much of the necessary flour, fat and sugar to make the pastry. So a simple mixture of flour, margarine and sugar was used to make the top of the crumble. The dish was also popular due to its simplicity.
In some parts of America a very similar dish may be called a crisp. It is also similar to a fruit cobbler (popular in the USA), although the topping for a cobbler is generally smoother and more cake-like.