Jen Thomas

Radio Presenter, Journalist, Blogger


This post originally appeared on my previous food blog, and I still get requests to make it every year, so thought I should share it with you! There are plenty of other festive recipes there as well that I created, including Rekorderlig winter cider crumble, filled chocolates (with chambord or baileys ganache) and various cake and cupcake recipes. Let me know what you think!


First things first; I love Christmas. Not just for the presents and my obligatory black and pink Christmas tree, but mostly for the abundance of food and flavours.

I tend to start thinking about Christmas as soon as Halloween and Bonfire night are done, and with the arrival of festive items ever earlier in the shops each year, it’s easy to get a head start. First up as a mulled wine, apple, plum and blackberry crumble. This worked so well, I later attempted it with a special winter edition cider, which I will upload later this week.

Mulled Wine

Kindly checkout lady: “ooh…are you having a party?”
Me: “erm…no.”
*awkward silence*

For this recipe I use Mulled Wine from Marks & Spencer as it’s wonderful, but you can make your own with red wine and cinnamon, orange peel and other suitably wintry spices, or you can purchase the mulled wine sachets.

I’m not a purist when it comes to baking, my little pink kitchen makes me happy and so does baking, and above all it should be enjoyable so if you prefer to buy pre-made crumble mix then go for it, or you can make it all from scratch. I’m sure the recipients won’t complain either way!


2 cooking apples, peeled and cut into quarters or smaller.
3 plums, stones removed
1 punnet of blackberries (150g in my case)
350ml mulled wine
2tbsp caster sugar
1tsp butter

For the crumble

175g/6oz Flour
75g/3oz Butter (room temperature)
75g/3oz Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1) Pre-heat the oven to 170c/350f/Gas Mark 3 (adjust for fan oven).

2) Peel, core and chop the apples, at least into quarters. Place into a mixing bowl and cover with water and a squeeze of lemon if you have it to prevent the apples from turning brown. Either cut the plums in half to remove the stone, or slice around it, whichever is easier. Rinse the blackberries, put half of them to one side.

3)Melt the teaspoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

4)Drain the lemon/water, add the prepared fruit (sparing half of the blackberries for later), stirring with a wooden spoon to coat with the melted butter. Cook for a minute or two.

5)Pour in 300ml of the mulled wine, reserving 50ml for later and add one tablespoon of caster sugar.

Mulled Wine Crumble

Simmering the fruit in the wine

6)Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the apples have softened (but not mushy), the fruit should have taken on the colour of the wine by now.

7) Strain the fruit, saving the red wine mixture in a jug/bowl. Pour the fruit into your crumble dish/bakeware. (I use a Le Crueset rectangular 26cm dish, in pink of course!).Add the remaining blackberries, adding these now will retain their shape. Use a plate to cover.

Fruit after draining the red wine liquid.

8) Return the mulled wine to the pan on a medium heat, add the remaining 50ml and table spoon of caster sugar. Bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has thickened and reduced. While this is cooking make the crumble.

9)Sift the flour, sugar, and cinnamon into the softened butter in a mixing bowl, and rub together using (clean!) fingers until combined in small lumps. Alternatively, combine in a food processor if you have one.

With the red wine reduction/syrup added

10)Pour the red wine reduction (which should now be more syrup like in consistency) over the fruit in the dish, stir in gently. Spread the crumble mixture over the top.

11) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. Serve with custard or cream if you so wish!


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