Happy first day of Summer, everyone! I love summer for lots of reasons, but I have to admit that berries might be the first and foremost. They’re the perfect snack, I love them with yogurt and granola and when baked, they become, if possible, even tastier.
I’ve used berries in almost every form: in pie, on pavlova, in ice cream, in cake, jam, muffins and scones. That’s a pretty comprehensive list of berry desserts, but how could it be complete without a classic berry crumble? Simple, delicious and incredibly versatile, I wanted to make one I’d always come back to, so I set out to pin down the proper ratios and came up with this.
Here, the berries are the perfect mixture of sweet and tart, and they’re flavored with vanilla bean and fresh lemon juice. There’s just the right amount of thickener to keep the crumble from running all over your plate, and just enough sugar to keep possibly pucker-y raspberries from overwhelming.
As for the topping, while I usually prefer an oaty, crispy topping for my crumbles, I’ve decided I might love this simple, four ingredient one even more. It’s got brown butter and sugar, which it gives it an almost cookie-like taste and texture, and it comes together in seconds.
The crumble bakes in less than an hour, and when it’s done, all bubbly and juicy, you’ll want to dig in right away. But don’t just yet! Hold still, sit tight, wait a half hour or so. Then, it solidifies, and the warm, becrumbled berries, bursting with seeds and flavor, and topped with a (mandatory) scoop of vanilla ice cream, will be nothing short of perfection.
Yields: one 9″ crumble, serving 6-8
Why I love this recipe: summer fruits don’t need much to make them glorious, and using them in a classic crumble is a quick, easy way to turn them into dessert. The berries are flavored with fresh lemon juice and fragrant vanilla sugar, thickened with just enough starch to ensure that they don’t run juicily all over the place, and the topping is simple yet ultra flavorful, thanks to brown sugar and browned butter.
Variations: you can substitute another berry, such as blueberries, for some of the berries listed below. Sour cherries are a great replacement for raspberries, as well.
For the crumble:
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
For the triple berry filling:
- 3 cups strawberries, washed, sliced and stems removed
- 2 cups blackberries, washed
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries, washed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons corn or tapioca starch
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make the crumble: over medium high heat in a skillet, melt the butter. Let it brown- it will sizzle, turn dark and smell nutty. Be sure it doesn’t burn.
- Combine the browned butter with the flour, sugar and salt. Stir until clumps form and no dry spots remain. Refrigerate until needed.
- Combine the seeds of the vanilla bean with the sugar. Rub it together until it’s fragrant and the seeds are well dispersed. Save the vanilla bean pod for another use.
- Gently mix the washed, stemmed berries with the vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Toss with the starch.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to a 9″ pie dish. Remove the crumble topping from the fridge and top the berries with the crumble.
- Bake until berries are bubbling and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.