Height of Summer Blueberry Crumble recipe, from Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget cookbook by Amy McCoy
Author Amy McCoy:
Each summer, it is with great excitement that I await blueberry season. My neighbors, a local farm family, grow the sweetest, plumpest blueberries in all the land–or at least in all the land that I frequent–and sell them from a patio table set up in their front yard. Blueberries are abundant and inexpensive at the height of their season, and I scarf up every single pint they place on their table; freezing some for future use, eating many–perhaps too many, if there can be such a thing–out of hand, and crafting this gooey, crumbly treat here. During blueberry season, this crumble travels with me to whatever home I am a guest in, and almost without fail, the hosts ask to keep the remainder when I leave. I am only too happy to oblige, for I have 8 more pints at home and know that 4 more will be on the patio table in the morning. But at least I seem generous. And this dish seems rich. But it is, in fact, a great frugal treat, as our grandmothers knew all too well as they baked their fresh fruit pies. It doesn’t matter the money put into it, so long as the fruit is fresh. And so do feel free to improvise with your favorite summer and fall fruits. Cherries? Peaches? Plums? The choice is yours. Just substitute the same amount of fruit for the blueberries and wow them at your next dinner party.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Katie:
I find it difficult to prepare berries in a way that showcases the berry flavor without overpowering them, but this “Height of Summer Blueberry Crumble” recipe, from Poor Girl Gourmet by Amy McCoy, had a perfect balance. The delicate, crunchy topping complemented the berries well, and the recipe didn’t try to add too many flavors to the berries. Everyone enjoyed this dessert, even my mom, who is not usually a big fan of blueberries.
This blueberry crumble recipe also has the virtue of being easy to assemble before popping it in the oven for an hour, making this the perfect dessert for a summer dinner party. Just let the crumble bake while you eat, and you have a fresh, piping-hot dessert ready after dinner. The recipe turned out very well on the first try, and my only caution is to heed McCoy’s instruction when she says to place a foil-lined baking sheet under the crumble as it bakes. Once the filling begins to bubble, it will probably overflow the pie plate, and you definitely want something underneath to catch the drips! Also, this is a dessert best eaten fresh and hot straight from the oven. Although I indulged in a tasty second helping the next day, it was not nearly as good as the first day, so make sure you invite a few friends over to share this delectable treat.
In the recipe introduction, McCoy suggests trying the recipe with other seasonal fruits, and I am planning on making it with blackberries next. We often go to a local farm to pick blackberries at the end of August, and I usually make a more complicated cobbler with them. This year, however, I will be using this same, simple berry crumble recipe and I’m excited to see how it will turn out.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Editors’ Notes:
THE RECIPE. We used blackberries and agree completely with Katie: this is so simple yet SO good!
THE RESULT.There is one point on which we disagree with Katie: we loved this blueberry crumble just as much the next day. In fact, one of us (not saying who) enjoyed this cold, straight out of the fridge, with coffee for breakfast.
Height of Summer Blueberry Crumble
Yield: Serves 6 to 8, $5.00 to $10.00
- 2 pints blueberries (approximately 4 cups), rinsed and picked over for under- and overripe berries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- The zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with butter.
2. Combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie pan.
3. Mix together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, mixing all until a moist crumb is formed. Cover the mass of berry goodness with the crumb mixture.
4. Line a 10 by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil so as to avoid dripping gooey blueberry all over the bottom of your oven during the baking portion of this exercise. Place the crumble on the pan and bake until the topping is a golden brown and the blueberry mixture is bubbling, 55 minutes to 1 hour. If the top is browning too quickly and there is no bubbling to be seen, cover the crumble loosely with foil until it is done. Let the crumble cool for 15 minutes and then serve with Vanilla Ice Cream (page 155). Or with whipped cream. When you do serve it forth, be certain to-discreetly, now-bask in the glow of your dinner hosts' appreciation. Leave them the leftovers. But be sure you have another pie dish at home, for you'll be needing to make another crumble tomorrow.
Estimated cost for one crumble: $8.92. The blueberries are $2.99 per pint. We are using 2 pints, so that's $5.98. Remember we make this during blueberry season, which is early to midsummer. The sugar costs 18¢ per cup. The flour is barely a blip on our budgetary radar, but we shall call it 6¢ just the same. The cinnamon for the entire recipe is approximately 65¢. The lemon costs us 50¢. Moving on to the crumb topping, the flour costs 30¢; the sugar, around 5¢ as we round up here; the brown sugar, 24¢. The butter runs us around 90¢, and the vanilla costs 6¢ for ¼ teaspoon. We'll make like you eat enough per serving to call this a 6-serving crumble, and that renders each serving $1.49, but if you can show enough restraint to serve 8, the cost comes down to $1.12 per person. The addition of Vanilla Ice Cream (page 155) adds around $1.21 per person to the tab.
© 2010 Amy McCoy
Reprinted with permission from Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget, by Amy McCoy (Andrews McMeel Publishing)