Summer Crumble

Summer fruit with oozing juice wrapped in golden, flakey pastry is every baker’s goal. Pie may be perfect, but crumble’s in. A crunchy-topped fruit crumble is welcome at any picnic, potluck or supper. When you’re at odds with the rolling pin and piecrust, stick with the rubbed together streusel mixture of brown sugar, butter, cinnamon spiked with plenty of rolled oats. Basically you’ll have a deep-dish pie topped with crumbly cake. It’s ready in minutes and not too sweet. With oatmeal and fruit it could be called a healthy dessert. Leftovers work for breakfast.

I first met the crumble baked over apples in my elementary school cafeteria where it was dished up into pale green bowls. We poured over the cream from the top of our small bottles of non-homogenized milk and thought it was the most divine dessert. Kids willing to help clean up the lunchroom spooned up extra bits of dessert left in the baking pans as a reward.

When I found this oatmeal version it became my standby. Try it with strawberries and rhubarb, blueberries and nectarines, peaches, pears with ginger, and don’t forget it during apple season. A plastic box of crumble topping stowed in the freezer, provides makings for a quick dessert at the last minute and crumble pressed into an empty pie plate bakes into oatmeal shortbread to break over ice cream with peaches.

Crumble Topping

2 1/2 oz. all-purpose flour (1/2 cup)

5 1/4 oz. golden brown sugar (3/4 cup packed)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick)

4 1/2 oz. old-fashioned rolled oats (1 1/2 cups)

To mix in a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in work bowl. Pulse to blend. Slice over cold butter and pulse to form coarse meal. Pour into mixing bowl, and rub oatmeal in with your fingertips. Refrigerate crumble mixture in sealed plastic container.

To mix by hand, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and whisk to mix in bowl. Slice over butter and work in with fingertips. Add oatmeal and rub mixture together. Crumble topping will look clumpy. An alternative method is to combine all dry ingredients and to mix in melted butter. Makes 1 lb. (4 cups)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

1 lb. rhubarb sliced (4 cups)

12 oz. strawberries sliced (3 cups)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 recipe Crumble Topping 

   Combine rhubarb and berries with brown sugar in 2 quart  (10-inch by 10-inch) shallow glass or glazed pottery baking dish. Strew crumble topping evenly over surface and bake in preheated 375°F oven for 30-45 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and crumble is golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream Enough for 8-10.

                                                               cookbook is available at Amazon.com    http://amzn.to/9lOnZv

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