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Can I Use Less Sugar In The Jumbleberry Crumble?

Asked by grcandam. Answered on 4th August 2023

Full question

Can I ask, on a "disagreement" between my husband and I. I regularly make Nigella's fruit crumble using frozen cherries, rhubarb, and various berries etc. I rarely add sugar to the fruit, but my husband asks me to LEAVE sugar out of the ingredients (the crumble mixture). I tell him the consistency will be affected and to leave sugar out would / could be a disaster?

ps. I tried Nigella's Crispy Chicken Sandwich ... delicious! Goodbye to the "now & again" fast food joint ...

Jumbleberry Crumble
Photo by Lis Parsons
Jumbleberry Crumble
By Nigella
  • 14
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Our answer

Nigella's Jumbleberry Crumble (from NIGELLA EXPRESS) is a fast dessert that can be made with any mixture of berries or summer fruits that you happen to have in your freezer. Nigella suggests using 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (or sugar plus a couple of drops of vanilla extract) for the fruit and 3 tablespoons of demerara (turbinado) sugar for the crumble topping.

For the fruit filling it really depends on the sweetness of the fruit that you use, and your own personal taste, as to whether you want to add sugar or not. Some people prefer a sharper fruit filling and some prefer a sweeter filling. However, we would not leave out the cornflour (cornstarch) as this helps to thicken the fruit juices. For the crumble topping the demerara sugar adds sweetness but also some crunch to the crumble, so the texture of the crumble will be softer. And while sweetness can be adjusted for personal taste, we do feel that the crumble topping could taste a bit bland without any sugar at all. So on balance we would prefer to keep some sugar in the crumble topping, particularly if there is no sugar in the fruit filling, but you could reduce it slightly if you find the topping too sweet. The same principle would apply to Nigella's other crumble recipes, such as the Strawberry And Almond Crumble.

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