It’s the last day of summer, and I’ve got some mixed feelings. Grad school orientation is tomorrow and I can’t wait to start classes on Tuesday, but I definitely will miss these warm, lazy days.
It’s also Sunday, which means house dinner! My roommates and I have been loving cooking together and occasionally inviting friends over to join the mix. To contribute, I decided to make one of my favorite ~healthier~ desserts, fruit crisp. Naturally, I had to choose a summer fruit to commemorate the end of the season, so I went with blueberries.
Crisps can often be a bit healthier of a dessert because they cut out a lot of the extra refined flour and saturated fats found in pies, with twice the amount of fruit. With oatmeal in the crumble topping, you also get a dose of whole grains (fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals!). I made this recipe even a tad healthier by subbing out half of the white flour for more oatmeal and omitting the sugar and flour normally mixed in with the fruit.
I started by setting my oven to 375 F and rinsing three pints of fresh blueberries that just so happened to be on sale.
I then measured out 5 cups of those blueberries into a deep Corningware dish (you could use any baking dish that is about 8 inches across and 1 1/2 inches deep), which was almost all of them except for about a handful. Perfect for a fresh snack to stick in the fridge!
On to the topping. I started by measuring out 1 1/4 cup of rolled oats, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 all purpose flour, 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of ground allspice into a measuring bowl.
The next step was cutting in cold butter.
But wait, what does that even mean?
“Cutting in” is a term used in baking to describe the process of combining a fat with a starch without actually mixing them fully together. The ideal result is a coarse crumb-looking texture. This helps create a flaky or crumbly texture as the fat melts during baking. Think scones. It’s important to use cold butter or the technique won’t work.
If you’re the kind of human that owns or has access to a pastry cutter, you are in luck, my friend. If you’re one of the rest of us, grab two table knives. First cut up the butter in slices like so:
Then, with a knife in each hand, have at it like Edward Scissorhands. Or, you over there with the pastry cutter, use that tool to cut the butter into the flour by pressing the cutter down in a rocking motion. Your mixture should start to look like this:
But you’re not there yet! Have patience, keep at it. Think of this as a forearm workout you’ll reward yourself with by eating a beautiful scoop of juicy blueberries with super crispy crumble topping that melts in your mouth…
The end product should look something like this (or with even smaller crumbles):
Next, I spread the crumble evenly on top of the blueberries.
And into the oven it went for 30 minutes! Since I did omit the sugar and flour usually mixed in with the berries, I decided to turn the oven down to 200 F after that first 30 minutes and continue cooking the crisp for about 10 more minutes. This helped some of the moisture evaporate from the cooked berries so they could gelatinize a little better.
Out came this steaming beauty with bubbling fruit and crispy, golden brown topping.
But seriously, just look at it.
Let it cool for as long as you can wait out that amazing smell (that was approximately 15 minutes for me). Serve with ice cream, yogurt and honey, or by itself and enjoy!
A seasonal dessert packed with juicy blueberries and topped with a hearty crumble.
- 5 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
- Set oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place blueberries evenly in the bottom of a deep baking dish, preferably 8 inches across, round or square.
- Mix together oats, brown sugar, and spices in a mixing bowl. With two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until the mixture is at a coarse crumb texture.
- Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the top of the blueberries.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature down to 200 degrees F and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature. Serve alone, with vanilla ice cream, or with yogurt and honey.