My family enjoys all berries equally but I have to say I’m partial to blueberries. I love blueberry pie but have never been particularly good at baking one (MA-JOR confession!). I don’t know what it is. I’m a dessert freak and have successfully made some of the most complex desserts (I’m talking souffles, people!). You name it, I’ve baked it and (ahem!), eaten it. But for some reason, the pies I make never really live up to my mile high expectations.
Since I’m fruit pie-challenged, whenever I’m craving a fruit dessert that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit tart and slightly crunchy, I always whip up a crumble. Crumbles come together fast and can be made with any medly of your favorite berries or stone fruits. There’s something special about the combination of warm, soft fruit underneath that crunchy, crumbly topping. Mmmm…Top that off with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and you are in biz-niss! The perfect ending to any summer meal.
I like to stock up on berries while they are in-season so I can build a stash in my freezer for the winter months, when I’m sick of apples and need to get my berry-on. I use them for baking, smoothies, oatmeal, topping yogurt, the list goes on and on. If you’ve never frozen berries before, let me hip you to the oh-so -easy process, K?
- Don’t wash berries you plan to refrigerate until you are ready to eat them. This will prevent your berries from getting mushy.
- If you plan on using your blueberries within a week and they are freshly picked, refrigeration is not necessary. If you purchased them from a store and therefore are not sure how long they’ve been sitting around, place them in the refrigerator. Refrigerated blueberries will keep for a couple of weeks in a plastic container.
- Freezing berries while they are in-season is a great way to enjoy the flavor of summer in the dead of winter. I always freeze a couple of pints in the summer so that I can make a blueberry pie even in the dead of winter. To do this, cover a small baking sheet (one that will fit into your freezer) with a piece of parchment. Remove all of the stems from the berries and then, spread blueberries out onto prepared baking sheet in one layer and freeze until hard. Once frozen, dump berries into your favorite freezable/sealable container (plastic, glass, ziplock baggie, etc…). This method will ensure that your blueberries don’t clump up while freezing. Before using, give them a wash under cool water. Place berries in one layer onto a paper towel to throughly dry or allow to drip dry in a colander.
Blueberry Selection Tips:
- Be sure that your blueberries are ripe when you pick/purchase them as blueberries do not continue to ripen after harvest.
- Select plump, full, blueberries with a light gray-blue color and no tinge of red.
Easiest Mixed Berry Crumble
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries and strawberries) Note: If using strawberries, hull and quarter)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup rolled aots
1/2 cup nuts (i like cashews but any nut will do nicely), coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine berries, sugar, corn starch and orange juice. Toss gently to combine. Do not smash the berries. Set aside to make the topping.
- For the topping, place flour, sugars, and butter into a large bowl and combine with your hands until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in oats and nuts.
- Our berry mixture into prepared pie plate and evenly distribute topping over fruit. Bake until topping is golden brown and berries are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.