Some desserts are decadent, elaborate, and call for a lot of careful planning and effort. This isn’t one of them. Some times, you just want something quick, simple, and delicious. This rustic-looking treat fits just the bill and is very easily tweaked to whatever fruit you have handy. With a crunchy, nutty, crisp top layer, and a gooey, temptingly sweet mix of red currants, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, this Quadruple Berry Crumble will hit the spot.
The berries are delicious in their own right and I love the balance of sweet and tart achieved by this mix, but I also wanted to add a few other subtle flavors to the mix. I love the mix of strawberries and balsamic vinegar, so the dark, sophisticated sweet flavors of balsamic were in. I also chose to enhance the sweetness with a bit of ground black pepper (it sounds strange, but try it! You won’t taste any pepper–I promise! The berries jump out more) while brightening things up with a bit of lemon.
This is all hidden under a crisp streusel-like crumbly layer of nuts, oats, brown sugar, and spices. All together, this dessert has everything going on and it only demands about 10 minutes of your time in the kitchen. And the best part? You could make a (not very) compelling case that this is breakfast food and not just a dessert. You’ll thank me in the morning.
- 1 cup red currants
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1-2 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp balsamic
- ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- Crumble topping
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup crushed nuts (I used a mix of almonds, hazelnuts, and mostly pecans)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp butter (melted)
- ground cardamom
- ground nutmeg
- ground cinnamon
Begin by hulling the strawberries and cutting them into medium sized chunks. Also, strip the currants off of the stem and discard any mediocre berries/stems as you sift through everything before you.
Toss all of the berries in a bowl and mix in the sugar, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Let this sit and macerate for 10 minutes or so as all of the berries begin to release their juices.
While you wait, work on the crumble topping. This is just as simple: mix all but the butter together. Then, cut the butter into small chunks and beat this into all of the other topping ingredients to form a coarse, crumbly dough. Set this aside.
Now that you’re ready to put it all together, scoop off a bit of the berry juice and make a paste of that and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Then, work this into the main berry bowl, stirring well enough to mix it throughout, but not so hard that you make a mess of all of those delicate berries.
Now, pour the crumble topping over the berries, spreading it out to a uniform thickness and pressing it gently against the berries.
Transfer this to a 400°F oven for around 50 minutes until the berries are bubbly and gooey while the top layer is crisp and firm. Let this cool down for a few minutes before you grab a scoop and dig in as this is definitely a dish best served warm with a spot of whipped cream on the side.