Bush-Whacked Bumbleberry Crumble


crumble-topped pie, made right in your own campfire

Andrew is a dessert fiend. I only like pie. I’m also a really lousy baker, and this is the one recipe I’ve perfected over the years: so much so that I’ve successfully adapted it for the backcountry and campfire. If I can bake this, anyone can. Here’s what you need:


  • Reflector Oven. This thing is so amazing. If you can bake it in a home oven, you can probably do it with this thing next to a three-wall campfire.
  • Shallow round pan or baking dish. Ensure it fits in the oven.
  • Lifter/Grippy Thing. To take the crumble out of the oven.
  • Small saucepan
  • Ziplock bag


  • 1/2 cup large-flake oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • bit o’ nutmeg
  • pinch o’ salt
  • ~1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 apple
  • large handful berries (bonus points if you find wild blueberries)
  • drizzle maple syrup


  1. Mix dry ingredients together at home in sturdy ziplock bag.
  2. At camp, melt butter in saucepan as your cooking fire reaches optimum levels (lots of white hot coals, but not crazy high flames). Nestle reflector oven right at the base of the fire to reflect the most heat to the back of the oven.
  3. Add melted butter to ziplock bag, close it up, and smush it around until it’s sticking together and you don’t see any dry bits. If you need more grease, add more melted butter or a drop of whatever cooking oil you have with you.
  4. Slice apple and toss in shallow, greased pan with berries and maple syrup. Top with crumble mixture and throw it in the oven. You may want to cover it with foil for a bit if you’ve sliced your apples thickly.
  5. Turn crumble occasionally until topping is evenly browned. Depending on your fire this can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes. In a 375F oven, it takes about 35-40 minutes, but that doesn’t translate to campfire cooking. Just keep an eye on it.

Makes two jumbo-sized servings for starving canoeists.


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