Today I present you the most basic of summer desserts: the crumble.
It’s a basic bitch dessert, I know. All you do is dump fruit and sugar in a baking dish and top with a mixture of flour/sugar/butter. That’s it. But I think we all can be basic bitches sometimes, right?
Okay, so what the hell is a crumble? Lemme break it down for ya: A crumble is a baked recipe that consists of mostly fresh fruit topped with a “crumbly” (see where we’re going with this?) streusel-like mixture. A crumble is almost exactly like a crisp, except a crisp would have oats in the topping. Crumbles don’t.
This is the very end of my summer cherries. *cries* After making cherry vanilla freezer jam, cherry salsa, whole wheat cherry almond oat bread… this is what was left. Fruit that wasn’t the quality needed for canning (if you’re going to be canning, your fruits and veggies need to be just ripe- not overripe and definitely not underripe! NEVER.. you will not get a good quality product from fruits/veggies that are past their peak, or that haven’t reached it yet). Just enough fruit to fill this Le Creuset baking dish. And to make it even easier? All I did was pit the cherries. I didn’t even cut ’em. Lazy preggos unite.
The cool thing about crumbles is that you can add just about anything. Mix up some different fruits together, add pistachios or almonds or oats to the crumb topping (which would make this a….? CRISP! yes, very good). Or keep it simple. Anything works. It’s like a crostata, but less work because there’s no making crust! You just dump it all in. Boom.
This one is super simple and basic. But all crumbles are basic, really. It’s so much easier than a pie- it’s just fruit and sugar and flour. Sometimes cornstarch and lemon juice. And it’s juicy and messy and summery.
I followed The Kitchn’s recipe for an any-fruit crumble. I’m not saying I did it exact, because my baking dish size is 9×9″ but almost 3″ deep. But for the most part, I followed their directions. Mine had to bake for way longer; probably because I used whole cherries and also my baking dish is pretty deep.
THE KITCHN’S “HOW TO MAKE A FRUIT CRUMBLE“
For the filling:
- 6 to 7 cups fruit, enough to almost fill pan
- 1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
- 1 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch, depending on juiciness of fruit
- 1 teaspoon ground spice, such as cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg (optional)
For the crumble topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Heat oven to 375°F and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch baking dish with butter; set aside.
- Prepare the fruit filling. If necessary, dice the fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing any stems, seeds, or inedible parts. Toss the fruit with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and any spices. Use more sugar and less lemon juice when cooking with tart fruits, like rhubarb and blackberries, and less sugar but more lemon juice for sweet fruits, like peaches and plums. Best is to taste a piece of fruit and adjust to taste. Use more cornstarch with very juicy fruits like plums and less with firm fruits like apples. But don’t worry — no matter your ratio of these ingredients, your crumble will be delicious.
- Pour the fruit filling into the baking dish. Transfer the fruit filling into the baking dish.
- Prepare the crumble topping. Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into a few large pieces and toss these in the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until large, heavy crumbs are formed.
- Scatter the crumble over the fruit. Pour the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
- Bake the crumble. Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the pan and the topping is firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool the crumble. Let the crumble cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. If transporting to a picnic or party, let the crumble cool completely to give the fruit filling time to set.
- Storage: Crumbles will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Serve cold, room temperature, or re-warmed in a low oven for 20 minutes.
- Using a 9×13-inch pan: Increase the fruit to 10 to 11 cups, adjusting the other filling ingredients to match. Increase all the crumble topping ingredients by half (1 1/2 cups flour, etc.), except for the baking powder.
- To make a crisp: Add 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats or 1/2 cup chopped nuts (or both) to the topping.
- To make a cobbler: Press the crumbs into biscuit-sized patties and arrange them in a single layer over the fruit.
- Flour substitutions: Try subbing another flour for all or some of the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Almond flour, spelt flour, and barley flour would all make delicious crumbles and cobblers.
- Sugar substitutions: Swap the brown sugar for white sugar for a lighter flavor, especially for cobblers. Feel free to experiment with other sugars in your cupboard as well.
Now is a good time for me to tell you what I did. I used regular white sugar, and only 1/2 cup because my fruit was sweet cherries; also they were super overripe and wet. I also only put a tiny bit of cinnamon in the crumb topping. I served it with vanilla ice cream because that’s just what you do, guys. That’s just whats done.
Like I said, mine baked for way longer. If after the 35 minutes you have no bubbling juices, and your crumb isn’t golden brown, keep baking. You want to see juice bubbles around the edges and a nice golden color on the top. Don’t be afraid to just let it bake. Keep an eye on it though. We don’t want burned crumble (who would burn something so simple? Heh heh.. *awkward laugh*).
Since this is the end of my cherries, I’d like to say a big thanks to Northwest Cherry Growers for sending me such gorgeous fruit. I look forward to the second shipment! What will it be? Plums… nectarines… peaches? A mix? We’ll have to wait and see…
Suggestions for use: DUH. Come on people. However I do highly recommend a mixture of fruit, if you have it. Peach, blueberry, cherry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, nectarine, plum… stone fruits especially make crumbles into perfection.
Soundtrack: Green Day – “Road to Pasalacqua”
Sources & credits: Baking dish (“Cassis” is my color); Le Creuset, medium size ramekins; Pier 1 Imports.