I love this time of year. Not just because the weather warms up significantly. Our summer doesn't normally start before July 4th, but it has been unusually warm for the past month. Maybe Mother Nature decided to give us a break after the cold, snowy winter (another unusual phenomenon). I'm totally not complaining.
Hand in hand with the warm weather comes sugar sweet berries and fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, cherries. I just can't eat enough of them. In fact, I always buy a ton of whatever is available with the intention of making jams, syrups, pies, ice cream, but instead I just end up gobbling them down. (Note to self: don't eat an extra-large bowl of cherries before a night on the town!)
I finally did manage to throw together some berry crumbles (for the first time) and all I can say is WOW! I've never been a big fan of crumbles because they are usually served with a pile of fruit and just a sprinkling of topping. I like there to be a good amount of crusty topping in every bite. Making the dessert in ramekins works perfect to give the right amount of topping to fruit. Plus they look super cute, don't they?
Making a crumble is so easy, easier than making a pie because there aren't any crusts to roll out. For the topping, I used Ina Garten's recipe. For the filling, I used my berry pie filling, but any pie filling would work.
Makes 1 large pie-sized or 6 ramekins
For the filling:
1 ½ lbs (4 to 5 cups) berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)
¾ oz (3 tbs) cornstarch
5 ½ oz (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
For the topping:
4 ½ oz (1 cup) all purpose flour
2 3/8 oz (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 1/8 oz (1/3 cup packed) brown sugar
pinch of salt
8 oz (1 stick) cold butter, diced
1 5/8 oz (½ cup) quick-cooking or regular rolled oats
1 5/8 oz (1/2 cup) sliced almonds
Begin by making the topping. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and butter until you get a coarse mixture. I like to add the oats and pulse a couple of times to break them up a little. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the almonds. Mix in the almonds making clumps (although it will still be pretty loose).
In another large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cornstarch and mix until all the cornstarch is mixed in with the sugar. Add the fruit and lemon juice and carefully mix, trying not to mash the fruit. Transfer the fruit into a large baking dish (or ramekins) and press the topping on. I like to make sure the fruit is completely covered. Bake in a 350F oven (on a sheet pan to catch the juices) until bubbly and the topping is golden.
Serve warm, with a scoop of ice cream.
Here's a tip: if you use ramekins, the dessert can be wrapped and easily reheated. They'll keep in the fridge, well wrapped, for about a week. I bake the crumbles until they are just golden and then reheat them under a broiler to crisp them up and warm the filling.