apricot crumble

So we are self-isolating at home several weeks during the 2020 corona virus mess when Ani says Isgouhi needs another jar of apricot jam. bob is thinking Isgouhi never uses apricot jam for breakfast or lunch, and we just bought one for her. Short memory, bob, she used half the jar for your favorite apricot crumble just last week. Actually the only apricot crumble dish bob has ever known. And another one was on the agenda. When you are cooped up for weeks at a time, food can become  a hobby to help pass the time. Every day requires new food objectives.

This recipe comes from a church ladies group from the little Armenian town of Anjar, Lebanon, where the Musa Dagh Armenians ended up over 80 years ago. Written in Armenian, a language bob failed to find the energy to attempt learning three decades earlier. Ani's cousin Maria  translated all the ingredients of all the recipes into English for bob  using a number 4 pencil that requires a bit of effort to read because it is so light, but the recipes remain a mystery. Requiring Isgouhi to execute them. Like this one. It's really simple, yet really tasty. The only thing that needs a bit of patience is manually rearranging the crumbles in the final step before baking. [Sometimes Ani will do one of the cookbook recipes herself. Not this one.]

Apricots hold a special meaning for Armenians, but also for bob. His Mennonite grandmother out in Nebraska used to make jam from the trees in the back yard, sampled during summer family visits from New York State. The only source of apricot jam in his whole childhood. Which was a grape jelly scene, usually paired off with Skippy smooth peanut butter in bob's favorite sandwich: peanut butter and jelly on skwushy white bread, followed close behind by Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup bean sandwich, made with beans reserved from the soup and inserted between a pair of skwushy white bread slices. 

Anyway even anti-dessert lady Ani will eat a small square of this dessert, perhaps because it is not that sweet. Just enough to qualify. Give it a try. bob likes it. Maybe you will too.


half recipe full recipe    
2 3   eggs, room temperature (yes, 2 is not half of 3, but eggs are too tedious to halve)
1 (8) 2 (16) sticks (T) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 1   c sugar
2 4   c flour, plus a few T for the crumble
1 1/2 3   t baking powder
pinch bigger pinch   salt
1/6 1/3   c vegetable oil
1 2 t vanilla
      vegetable spray (Pam!)
9x9   ?x?   glass baking pan (whatever works for the full batch, we only do the half recipe)


  1. Let eggs and butter come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  3. Spray your baking dish with vegetable spray.
  4. Beat the eggs, incorporate the sugar and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Divide in half.Spread half a jar of the apricot jam evenly over the
  6. Press one half into the bottom of the baking dish so that it is evenly distributed.
  7. Spread half a jar of the apricot jam evenly over the
  8. Slowly add some flour to the second half of the dough to reduce slightly the  moisture.
  9. Grate it over the jam with a large hole cheese grater to create the dough drops which become the crumble, and then redistribute them evenly by hand patiently.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or so until golden, check along the way so that it does not burn.
  11. Let cool. Divide into squares.


  1. Musalerian and Anjarian Cookbook, St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church Ladies Union, Anjar, Lebanon (2001). Isgouhi agrees with many of these versions of traditional recipes.
  2. Musaler.
  3. Apricot, the national fruit of Armenia. If there were a second national fruit it would be the pomegranate.
  4. Not exactly a birthday cake but it is the only cake in the house for my birthday. My mom used to make an angel food cake with chocolate icing on that special day. So long ago. Maybe it's time for a re-enactment.
  5. Illustrations available.
apricotcrumble.htm: 8-apr-2020 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]