Cardamom & Fennel Seed Browned Butter Apple Crumble with Caramelised White Chocolate

May 29 2024

This Cardamom and Fennel Seed Browned Butter Apple Crumble is simply divine.

It might sound like a lot with all of those elements and flavours going on, but the mix of flavours is almost subtle in the way they come together. They’re made for each other and perfect with the subtly tart apple. I think you’ll love this one!

Although browning the butter requires a tad more patience than simply melting it, the depth of flavour it imparts to the crumble is undeniably worth the effort. Its caramelised richness adds a warm, inviting note that elevates every bite.

Also, the dark caramelised white chocolate chunks might be your favourite part; they’re so good.

Don't let the deep dark brown of the crumble worry you as it gets to the end of the baking time. This is ok, as it’s really caramelising and creating a contrast of flavour and texture. The time also ensures the apples are adequately cooked and caramelised.

Served with vanilla ice cream or thick cream, your perfect decadent winter dessert is here. Enjoy!




Cardamom & Fennel Seed Browned Butter Apple Crumble with Caramelised White Chocolate | Gather & Feast

Cardamom & Fennel Seed Browned Butter Apple Crumble with Caramelised White Chocolate | Gather & Feast


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Vegetarian, Nut-free
30 minutes preparation time + 45 minutes cooking time (plus 15 minutes cooling time)

Apple mixture

  • 5 medium to large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 700-800g once peeled and cored)
  • 115g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of sea salt 

Cardamom & Fennel Seed Browned Butter Crumble

  • 250g salted butter, chopped into small, even-sized pieces
  • 250g (2 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
  • 100g (1 cup) rolled oats
  • 150g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds, freshly roughly ground in a mortar and pestle (if you have one) otherwise keep whole
  • 150g white chocolate, roughly chopped

To serve

  • Vanilla ice cream or fresh double cream


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a large flat baking dish, combine the sliced apples, caster sugar, vinegar, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Mix well and arrange the apple slices into an even layer. Set aside.


To brown the butter for the crumble topping:

  1. Place the butter into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. First, the butter will melt, then start to splatter as the water evaporates.
  3. Keep stirring with a sturdy spatula or flat wooden spoon, scraping up any caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. The butter will become quiet and start foaming, indicating it's beginning to brown
  5. Now, keep an eye on it at this point as it can happen quickly.
  6. Once it's foaming, continue stirring and scraping until the butter is deeply browned and aromatic.
  7. When it's dark brown, remove from heat and pour into a small bowl, ensuring you include all the browned bits. Let cool.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, ground cardamom, and fennel seeds.
  2. Add the cooled browned butter and mix until just combined. Then, add the white chocolate and mix again to combine.
  3. Scatter and clump the crumble mixture evenly over the apples in the baking dish.
  4. Bake at 180°C/350°F for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving. This crumble is also delicious served at room temperature.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh double cream.



  • A flat-based baking dish, rather than a curved or deep baking dish, is best for this recipe so the apples cook and caramelise evenly. When tested in deep or uneven-sided baking dishes, the apples didn't cook as well or as evenly.
  • Granny Smith apples are recommended for their tartness, which balances the sweetness of the crumble and white chocolate. Any tart variety of apple will also work well.
  • For the best texture, slice the apples as thinly and evenly as possible. A mandolin slicer can be very helpful for achieving uniform slices.
  • Keep a close eye on the butter as it browns, as it can go from browned to burnt quickly. The browned bits at the bottom of the pan add a rich, nutty flavour to the crumble, so make sure to include them.
  • For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free plain baking flour that can be used as a 1:1 replacement, and substitute flaked almonds for the oats.
  • Freshly ground fennel seeds provide a more intense and aromatic flavour. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, simply use whole fennel seeds, though the flavour might be slightly less intense.
  • Use high-quality white chocolate for the best flavour. Roughly chop the chocolate so that it melts nicely into the crumble, creating delightful pockets of sweetness.
  • When mixing the crumble topping, do not over-mix. The mixture should be clumpy to provide a good texture when baked.
  • The top of the crumble will look quite dark toward the end of the cooking time. This is ok, as it’s really caramelising and creating a contrast of flavour and texture. The really dark caramelised white chocolate bits are so delicious! The time also ensures the apples are adequately cooked and caramelised.
  • This crumble is delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of fresh double cream. It can also be enjoyed at room temperature.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Apple cider vinegar adds a subtle tang to the apple mixture, but lemon juice can be used as a substitute if preferred.

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I’m Ashley, welcome to Gather & Feast. Here you'll discover wholesome, and nutritious recipes, baked treats, and delicious desserts. x

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