Quadruple Berry Crumble

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.


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25 Responses to “Quadruple Berry Crumble”

  1. kittie Says:

    Crumbles are my favourite ever dessert – they remind me of childhood summers! This one looks especially decadent with all those lush berries!

    Breakfast? HELL YEAH!!!

  2. Aparna Says:

    Most of your desserts are decadent, Mike and even when they aren’t they look absolutley delicious like this one. :)
    I love the crunch of streusel and its great with fruit. Btw, I agree with the black pepper. It can enhance other flavours (in the right quantities!).

  3. Ivy Says:

    I’ve seen pepper being used in some desserts but never tried it. Wow, I’d love this for breakfast.

  4. Judy Says:

    Great idea for a quick dessert. I love crumbles. They can be thrown into the oven shortly before dinner so that you have a nice easy dessert right about the time you are finishing up!

  5. brilynn Says:

    I like the addition of the balsamic, that sounds wonderful!

  6. clumbsycookie Says:

    Just in time for the end of Summer! I loved that you used balsamic, sure made them extra special!

  7. Nora Says:

    Mike, this is no ordinary crumble! I love the mix of berries and the balsamic. I got a small (tiny, actually!) bottle of super expensive balsamic during my last trip to Italy a while ago and I used to drizzle it on roasted strawberries and ice-cream. The bottle is now empty and I haven’t been able to get my hands on such a bottle again…. boo-hooo-hooo… :-(

  8. noble pig Says:

    Oh how yummy! I love a rustic dessert like this. I also like the idea of using a bunch a fifferent nuts and steel cut oats! I’m in with two feet!

  9. Y Says:

    That crumble looks sooo good. I love it as a quick dessert because it’s usually really easy to make. Great idea, incorporating a bit of balsamic into the berries. I like strawberries with balsamic, but haven’t tried it in a crumble yet.

  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    You’re so right about the pepper making the flavor of the fruit pop. I discovered this quite by accident some years ago, when I was making mango sorbet and reached for something on my spice rack but accidentally got the pepper instead. It really was delicious with the mango, and I’ve been adding a bit of pepper to my sorbets ever since!

  11. Bellini Valli Says:

    I have tried pepper on my strawberries and it does enhance the flavour as does balsamic:D

  12. Kevin Says:

    Nice mix of berries for this crumble! Nice use of cardamom!

  13. Hélène Says:

    I just love the pictures. I have guests coming and I know what I’m making for dessert. An apple crumble. You gave me the idea. Thanks.

  14. RecipeGirl Says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever had a currant before. They’re so pretty! This looks like a delish dessert!

  15. linda Says:

    Delicious looking crumble!

  16. grace Says:

    would it be wrong to just eat the crumble topping with a spoon? i’m sure tempted to. i know it’s usually better to wait until it’s draped over berries and baked, but sometimes i can’t resist. :)

  17. mikky Says:

    I love crumbles… I love berries… so this is just PERFECT!!! :)

    BTW, I was tagged by Ning of Heart & Hearth, so I hope you don’t mind, but I’m tagging you… i would love to hear what you have to say… :)


  18. ttfn300 Says:

    Ooh, I wouldn’t have thought that steel-cut oats could go in a crumble topping but I’ll def have to give this a try :)

  19. pam Says:

    I can’t believe I have never even seen a fresh currant before. The only ones I’ve had are dried and look like tiny raisins.

  20. Deeba Says:

    TORTURER…did you hear me say we will never get fresh berries here in yonder land? And then you make it quadruple! I’ve left a puddle of drool in helpless agony Mike! This is SHEER TORTURE just looking at the beauty of it!

  21. Jude Says:

    This post is a bit rough since berries are almost out. I better do something about it :)

  22. Marie Says:

    I’m all for decadent and quick desserts too. The touch of black pepper sounds just perfect!

  23. Bren@flanboyanteats Says:

    ive used pepper (cayenne) with fruit desserts as well, and it works great!
    nice job with the berries. i’m all about the berries, i just wish they weren’t so expensive… 😉

  24. Nicisme Says:

    I think you’ve covered all the bases with this gorgeous sweet and tart dessert. I am a fan of the balsamic/strawberry combo and could eat this for breakfast with no hesitation!

  25. Dee Says:

    It’s hard to up the ante on the ole strawberry and balsamic combo, but there you go and add some luscious berries into the equation! Excellent Mike :)

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