Triple-berry crumble is a deceptively simple weeknight treat

A confession, I love summer. I love everything about it: the sweltering heat, the long, sun-soaked days … I even love the occasionally destructive thunderstorms that leave everything looking freshly scrubbed. 

One of my favorite facets of this time of year is the fresh produce. Summer means a bounty of fruits and vegetables, and that, in turn, means fresh opportunities to experiment in the kitchen. 

One silver-lining side effect of the pandemic is people around the nation have documented themselves rediscovering the joys of baking. Whipping up a pastry or loaf of bread, it turns out, is nowhere near as tough as it seems (trust me, if I can do it, anyone can) and it makes your space smell amazing!

 But now that we’re slowly coming out of our homes and getting back to life in the general fray, who has the time to shape and pre-bake a perfect crust or clean and prep fresh fruit? 

That was the challenge I faced on a recent Wednesday when I got home from a long day at the office and still had the baking itch. This ultra-quick triple-berry crumble takes 30 minutes, thanks in large part to the frozen berries; and is absolutely delicious as a stand-alone desert, served a la mode with a favorite ice cream, or chilled and whipped into plain yogurt for a breakfast or snack parfait. 

A couple of notes: 

This recipe calls for frozen berries, which in the case of the triple berry medley consists of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. I did that for convenience purposes, since they’re cleaned and that cuts out some steps. If you must use fresh fruit, I totally get it: just reduce the amount of corn starch by about half so you don’t inadvertently make jam. Unless you like jam, I suppose. 

I like to toast the oatmeal and walnuts in a spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Now, if you’re like me and you enjoy having surplus jars of dried, ground stuff sitting around the kitchen, have at it. If you’re going to only use these baking classics on rare occasion, do yourself and the counter space a favor, and go with pre-mixed pumpkin spice. The results won’t disappoint.

Oh, and if walnuts drive you nuts, go ahead and substitute in almonds, pecans or even macadamia nuts. Or just leave them out and up the ante on the amount of oats you’re using for the crumble. 

Happy baking and happy summer, Southeast Colorado Springs!

 

Triple-berry crumble

2 pounds Simple Truth Organic frozen triple berry medley 

1 cup granulated sugar, divided 

1 tablespoon lemon juice 

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 tablespoon butter, divided 

½ cup walnut pieces 

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal 

1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it is warming, rub a 9-by-9 inch baking dish with butter until coated and set aside. 

Using a fork, mix lemon juice and corn starch until starch is totally dissolved and set aside. 

Pour frozen mixed berries into a large bowl and toss with ¾ cup granulated sugar until fully coated. Pour lemon juice mixture over the berries and give them a good stir to incorporate. Pour the berries into prepared baking dish and pop the whole mixture into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. 

While the berries are baking, make your crumble topping. 

To do that, first melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. 

Toss in walnut pieces and the last ¼ cup sugar, and stir constantly as walnuts toast. After 4 to 8 minutes, they will soften slightly, become very aromatic and darken to a deep, golden-brown color. Add rolled oats and pie spice, and toast until a deep golden brown. Does your kitchen smell like pie? Perfect. 

Remove the berries from the oven, top with the crumble (if it’s sizzing, that’s fine) and return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes of baking deliciousness, or however long it takes for the fruit to thicken and bubble. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to desired, less-than-molten-lava temperature before enjoying with yogurt or ice cream, or just straight from the dish with a big spoon. We won’t judge.

— Recipe by Regan Foster

 

Editor

Founding Editor and General Manager Regan Foster holds dual bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish and a master's degree in journalism with specialization in political reporting and media management.