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Friday, February 3, 2012

Berry Crumble, A Story of Redemption

Good morning blogosphere and a happy Friday to you all.

After a dose of much needed beauty sleep, I'm ready to redeem myself from my strawberry shortcake sized failure.

As I mentioned yesterday, when all else fails, go with what you know.

I know crumbles.

I know that if I take the perfect amount of flour, sugar, butter and berries, I can create a bubbly crunchy masterpiece.

Sometimes I even get a little wild and throw in some cinnamon too.

I know. What a rebel.

I think that oftentimes, in an effort to match the richness of a chocolate sweet, people fudge up (pun intended) a treat of the non-chocolate variety.

This is unnecessary.

Allow your non-chocolate dessert to become what it is meant to be. 

Don't be a conformer.

Conformers are boring.

Non-chocolate desserts don't have to be.

My crumble was born to be a bubbly, slightly sweet and tart hug of a treat.

It's so sophisticated in its simplicity. Kind of like Jennifer Aniston's hair. It looks au natural and thrown together, but you know it takes a serious expert to look so "girl next door".

Think of my crumble as your "dessert next door".

I think we've had enough metaphors for the day, don't you?

Just make my crumble.

Very Berry Crumble
Servings: 2

Ingredients for Berries

3 ounces fresh blueberries
3 ounces fresh blackberries
1/4 cup frozen cranberries
Zest of 1 clementine (or about 1 teaspoon orange zest)
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice from 1/2 a clementine (or about 1 teaspoon orange juice)
Juice from 1/4 a lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tablespoon flour

Ingredients for Crumble

5 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

To Do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place berries in a medium sized bowl

Add in zest, juice, cinnamon, sugar, salt and flour and stir gently to combine. (from the Ingredients for Berries list). Be sweet to your berries. They're sensitive.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, flour, oats, and sugars. (from the Ingredients for Crumble list).

Add in diced butter and combine until little marble/pearl/pea sized balls appear. You may do this with a mixer with a paddle attachment, a food processor on pulse, a pastry cutter (my preferred method), or your finger tips.

If using your fingertips, take care not to smush it all together. Your goal is to combine it without overworking it or heating the butter too much.

Split berry mixture between two ramekins, filling just up to the top without overflowing. You may also do this in a casserole dish but it will be less romantic and you may ruin Valentine's Day. kidding.

Put ramekins on lined baking sheet.

With a large spoon or your hands, completely cover the berries with the crumble mixture. Put on way more than you think it needs.

The berry crumble will need approximately 30-35 minutes. It will bubble, and may overflow. The crumble on top of the berries will begin to turn golden.

Once the berry crumble is finished, let it cook on a wire rack or even on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This is really quite simple, if the crumble is still bubbling, it will most likely burn your mouth. That would be wretched. Don't do it.

OPTIONAL: You will still have some of the crumble mixture left over.

Line another baking sheet and spread the leftover crumble on the bottom.

The leftover crumble you put on the baking sheet will only need approximately 10-15 minutes. Keep your eye on it.

It will most likely need to be stirred around with a wooden spoon or spatula a couple of times to avoid burning.

Take the leftover crumble out of the oven and let it cool for the remainder of the berry crumble's bake time. It will harden and you can crumble it on top of the berry crumble as you go for additional crunch. Or save it for later to put in your ice cream. Or you can toss it in the trash, but just remember, there are starving children in Africa.

Ingredient Options:

If you do not have any of the above berries, this is not an issue. Substitute in your favorite whether it is strawberries, huckleberries or raspberries.

You may also substitute in diced pear or apple for the cranberries.

If you're not a cinnamon fan, you may substitute in cocoa powder, nutmeg, or even pumpkin pie spice.

Adding a tablespoon or two of dried fruit or chopped nuts is also delicious.

I have not forgotten my prerequisites - there is red in there.
Jazzed up berries.
crumblies pre-pea/pearl/marble-sizing
a berry berry good time
If you pile it really high (as you should), some pieces will most likely ooze over the side. I have two comments regarding this - 1. sometimes, imperfection is beauty. This is one of those times. 2. line your baking sheet with parchment paper
Berry crumble...just hangin'
A word of caution: you'll note the crumble is still cooling on the pan. You'll also note a certain someone (namely, my mother) getting a nice big hunk of a bite. Because she birthed me, I'm going to spare her the mortification of photographic proof of the "I burned my mouth because I don't have any patience when it comes to crumble" dance that occurred approximately 30 seconds after this photo was taken. Sometimes, I'm a really good daughter.
Clearly that didn't phase her. Nothing comes between my mamma and a crumble. Nothing. Got it?
What chocolate?
All dressed up and nowhere to go.
Aerial view. See that little blip of a red dot on that whipped cream? That's a heart. There, I hit 2 out of my 3 Valentine's Day treat qualifications.
Goodness be had.
Crumble, my daddy's way. I think I made up for the strawberry shortcake debacle.
There you have it. I accomplished what many thought was impossible.

A beautiful, rustic, seductively luscious Valentine's Day treat with not a drop of chocolate in it.

Now, to be clear, I'm not encouraging chocolate-less behavior on a regular basis. That would be vulgur.

But, if you're going to go rogue, you can't do better than my berry crumble.

What's up next? Valentine's Day healthified 2.0.

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