Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tripple Berry Crumble

Quick and Crisp, A Delicious Hassle-Free Dessert:
Sometimes there just aren't enough minutes in the day for a super complex or time-consuming, though typically ahhh-mazing, gourmet dessert. And to save-face from lowering myself to store-bought "brake & bake", my mom and I developed this totally year-round, very versatile, and fairly quick crumble recipe that will have family members and guests alike asking for more and begging for your recipe. What I think is the best part about this recipe is that it is almost completely no-fail. You could substitute different ingredients and also play with the ingredient levels and still come out with a fabulous dessert, save you putting in something bizarre like broccoli or accidentally using salt instead of sugar. And, no matter if its the dead of winter or in the heat of summer, fresh or frozen fruit work perfectly in this hassle-free recipe, so get cooking!


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups worth of mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) 
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs of sugar
  • Dash of vanilla (use sparingly)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pkgs of instant oatmeal (maple flavored)
  • 2 tbs of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsps of brown sugar
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon 
  • 2 tbs of salted butter (chilled and cubed)
  • Vanilla ice cream (if desired)
  • 2 tbs of berry jam, melted 

Hardware:
  • At least 4 oven-safe ramekins
  • Large baking sheet


Recipe: Makes about 4 individual desserts
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If using frozen berries, thaw and drain first. Then combine berries, vanilla, lemon juice, and regular sugar in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, hand-mix loosely the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cubed butter until combined. Mixture should be thick.
  4. Coat ramekins with cooking spray or shortening and add berry mixture to about 3/4 full.
  5. Drop bits of oat mixture on top of each ramekin, covering most of the berries.
  6. Place ramekins onto baking sheet and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown and berry mixture is bubbling.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with melted jam.



Tenacious Tips:
  • To melt jam down into a sauce, simply add jam to microwave safe container with a little water and cook in 7-10 second intervals until it melts down.
  • The berry mixture tends to thicken up a good deal on its own the oven, but if you want to ensure a super thick compote, add 1 - 1 1/2 tsps of cornstarch to the berry mixture before filling the ramekins.
  • For instant oatmeal, I really like Dr. McDougall's organic instant oatmeal light in maple-brown sugar flavor. But, FitKids also has some great organic varieties that are healthy and would work great in this recipe. Whatever brand you happen to go with make sure it isn't too high in sugar, as the fruit should carry enough sweetness on its own. 
  • If you like a really crispy topping, consider adding a 1/4 C of chopped almonds or pecans to the oat mixture. Just be sure to adjust the butter, flour, and oats to accommodate more dry ingredients.
  • The options are endless for this dessert. You may want to try apples and cranberries in the winter and lighten it up with peaches and blueberries in the summer. Either way, with warm melted down fruit, crisp buttery topping, and a scoop of cold ice cream, you can't go wrong!