When you’re out in the berry patch, drinking in the sun, watching your littles blissfully bound down the aisles searching for the perfect berry, tasting warm strawberries straight off the vine with sweet juice dripping down your chin… you don’t think about the size of your fridge.
This happens to me several times a year. We go to the farm and come home with WAY more than we could possibly use in one week. So what do you do with the five gallons on strawberries your babies bring to you? Here’s what I did..
First I separated them into three piles: SUPER-RIPE bake now or freeze, RIPE use within the next couple days, ALMOST-RIPE use within a week.
I put most of the super-ripe strawberries in the freezer for smoothies and post-season baking.
Then I used some of the super-ripe strawberries for Strawberry Basil Italian Ice to keep in the freezer for late night sugar cravings.
The next day I put the ripe berries and some of the slightly under ripe strawberries in spicy Strawberry Chipotle Jam.
And finally I made a lovely, LOVELY Strawberry Pistachio Crumble for my family to enjoy after dinner.
There are many varieties of baked fruit desserts. Most of them, at one point or another, have been mistaken for “cobbler.” Variations and names tend to be regional. If you like to bake, it’s worth getting familiar with them.
Cobbler~ Baked fruit with a rolled crust made of pie crust or cookie dough.
Buckle~ Fruit with cake batter poured over the top before baking.
Crisp~Baked Fruit topped with a “rubbed” crumb top usually consisting of butter, sugar, and flour.
Crumble~ Similar to a crisp with the addition of oats.
Grunt/Slump~ Baked Fruit topped with biscuit dough, that is then covered so that the biscuit steams instead of bakes.
Brown Betty~ Baked fruit topped with buttered bread or cake that has been crumbled.
Today I’m serving you a crumble, named for it’s crumbled oat top. I personally prefer crumbles to most other types of “cobbler”, because of texture and the way the topping breaks apart when you spoon it out into a bowls.
Here I’ve simply combined fresh cut strawberries with a little lemon, sugar, cornstarch for thickening, and a touch of Chambord. I’ve been using quite a bit of Chambord lately because I have in nice sized bottle of it and find it adds such depth to everything it graces. In this dish, the Chambord doesn’t cover, but accentuates the strawberries. I’ve made this same crumble with Bourbon as well. It was just as lovely, but the Chambord does have a way of drawing out the “berrieness” of the strawberries.
For the top I’ve combined a simple oat, flour and butter mixture with chopped roasted pistachios. The salty nutty essence of the pistachios is a great way to balance out the acidity of the strawberry filling.
Crumble: hot or cold? Although its tempting to eat a crumble right out of the oven, I don’t advise it.
One, the sauce needs time to cool and thicken so it holds together. Two, in my opinion, hot berries taste overly acidic. I like to eat baked fruit desserts at room temperature. The flavors of the strawberries, Chambord and pistachios really shine, when it’s not too hot or too cold.
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