Fruit this year seems to keep passing me by: I either miss the season altogether, or start frantically checking my local roster of U-pick farms just as the last of the berries/cherries/stone fruits are saying goodbye. Blueberries are no exception: I have yet to go blueberry picking and the season at Jones is winding down (I’m hoping to get there this week!). I’m less stressed about the blues, however, as I still have a couple of gallon Ziplocs in my freezer: I picked a lot of blueberries last summer.
This is a simple crumble, a riff on my now-standard recipe, originally from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. No slicing & dicing involved, but this does improve vastly with a period of maceration and a reduction of the blueberry syrup: the topping stays crisp & crumbly, the berries are still intact and the syrup is rich and jammy. I made this for my friend Tanya over the weekend and it got a hearty two thumbs up (although the kids were more interested in the orange sherbert I got to serve with it). Make this one before the blues disappear for another year.
- 3 oz (3/4 cup) whole white wheat flour
- 3 oz (2/3 cup) walnuts, chopped
- 1 and 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) rolled oats
- 2 and 1/2 oz (1/3 cup) raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- a dash of freshly ground pepper
- 2 and 1/2 oz (1/3 cup) butter, melted
- 1 and 1/2 lb blueberries (I used frozen)
- zest & juice of 1 small lemon
- 4 oz sugar (about 1/2 cup)
- pinch sea salt
- 2 tbsp Chambord or other berry liqueur (optional)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine berries, lemon zest & juice, sugar, sea salt and Chambord (if using). Mix well and allow to macerate, for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or refrigerated overnight. The point is to get the berries to release some of their juice; if you are short on time, you can speed up this process by bringing the berry mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then removing from the heat and allowing to sit until room temp.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
- To make the topping, combine the flour, oats, nuts, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Add melted butter and toss with a fork to blend; mold the topping into 4 or 5 patties with your hands, then place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
- To make the filling, whisk the cornstarch and sugar together in a medium bowl. Strain the macerated fruit, collecting the syrup in a medium saucepan. Transfer the strained berries to a 9-inch pie dish. Bring the berry syrup to a boil over high heat, allowing it to boil for a few minutes to reduce slightly. Whisk in cornstarch & sugar mixture; boil for another minute, until the cornstarch acts to thicken the syrup. Add to the berries in the pie plate and toss lightly to mix. Remove topping from the freezer and crumble over the top of the fruit, including a mix of large and small pieces.
- Bake, on the rimmed baking sheet, for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is a rich golden brown and the juices are bubbling. If you want the crumble to maintain some structure upon serving, allow to cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 – 8.
- I’ve made this a couple of times and I think that the maceration/syrup-reducing step is critical. I’ve used frozen berries each time, so it may be that fresh berries work fine without this step, but if using frozen berries, definitely do not skip reducing the syrup. The resulting crumble is soggy & runny.
- The Chambord is added for a little depth of flavor and oomph; you can easily omit it, or replace with orange juice, grape juice, or a fruity, berry-forward red wine.
At room temperature, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for up to 3 days.
Summer, or year round with frozen bluberries.