The sun streams down through the rows of berry bushes, revealing glistening berries and intermingling with giggles as bigger and bigger patches of blackberries are found. Hands dart in, avoiding the prickly branches and beetles munching on the leaves. “How many containers have you filled? I have already gotten two!” my sister Zoe calls from further down the row, always wanting a competition. Wet grass clings to our feet as we happily search for the hidden berries inside the tangled mess of vines, popping a few in our mouths when the other isn't looking. After cartons, and bellies (shh!), are full, we run inside to begin our project.
A crumble is a perfect treat to end a hot summer day. Juicy, crisp, and too sweet, it can be garnished with a scoop of cold, creamy vanilla ice cream or eaten plain. Though I love a good crumble in the winter, curled up on a couch in front of the fire with a book (click here to read my blog post about a delicious winter treat!), no one can beat a delicious summer crumble. A crumble tastes of humid summer days, a cool crisp breeze, a running stream. With one bite it pulls me away to previous happy summers, while making me feel content and lucky where I am. What reminds you of summer? Please, please, please leave a comment below!
My family's favorite crumble recipes are from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart, but in my opinion, nothing is better than my sister's summer crumble (inspired by these two recipes) that she whips together to create the perfect summer night. The beauty of a crumble is that it is very forgiving. It can contain any kind of fruit that you can dream of (my favorites are blackberries, blueberries, and peaches), with just a thickener (flour or cornstarch), a little bit of sugar (not too much!), and a topping of flour, sugar, salt, and butter. A crumble is like tie dying, any way it is created it will look beautiful. If you make this recipe, take a picture and send it to me!
Although Zoe can make any recipe overly delicious, with this recipe the rest of us can at least can be assured that we can make a pretty good summer crumble. Here is Zoe's recipe and happy baking:
Zoe's Summer Crumble
(Inspired by Martha Stewart's Peach Crumble)
Yield: 12 small servings
Time: 30 minutes
- 7 cups of any fruit (I just made mine with blueberries and sour cherries--you can use frozen or fresh fruit)
- 6 teaspoons cornstarch or 4 tablespoons flour
- A scant 1/2 a cup sugar (or as little as 1/4 a cup, depending on how sweet your fruit is)
- A splash of lemon juice (it is okay if you don't have this--I often leave it out)
- Heaping 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Scant 1/4 a cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- For the filling: In a bowl, gently (so that you don’t mash the fruit) mix all the ingredients for the filling, flour/cornstarch, sugar, fruit, lemon juice, and salt.
- Pour fruit mixture into a 12″ by 8″ baking dish.
- For the topping: Cream the butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer for about two minutes at medium to high speed.
- Add salt and flour in a few batches.
- Mix until the dough starts to form a ball.
- Crumble the topping into little pieces over the fruit mixture.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes—if it looks like it is browning too quickly on top, cover with aluminum foil. It’s done when the fruit is bubbling and the topping has some color.