Fruit desserts, whether it be in a crumble, cobbler or tart form, are my favorite. And today's Berry Crumble is one of my go-to desserts, especially for dinner parties. It's always a crowd pleaser, it accommodates fresh or frozen berries (or other seasonal fruit), and it can be made in advance. If I'm serving this for a dinner party, I'll assemble the fruit and crumble components separately earlier in the day. Just before serving dinner I'll layer the components into a baking dish (or ramekins as you see here) and bake so it's cooked, warm and bubbly by the time we're ready for it.
You might remember this autumnal apple and pear version from several years ago. Today's summer version has a grain-free topping of almond flour, pecans, coconut flakes, coconut oil and maple syrup. Thanks to the almond meal, it partly soaks into the berry juice like a flour/oat topping would, but the top remains crunchy and buttery. The best of both worlds!
The berry base is a mix of huckleberries, blackberries and blueberries. You can use one of these varieties or your own combination. I'm taking advantage of the local berries at the moment. Living in Sausalito and Marin County, I have easy access to hiking trails in the Marin Headlands, a hilly, rugged peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the North Bay. The Headlands is not only home to coyotes, bobcats, and moody weather -- all of which Leila and I have consequentially encountered -- but also lots of wild blackberry bushes, which I've enjoyed picking from.
Enjoy this crumble warm with ice cream or yogurt, and you've got the perfect ending to a summer meal.
Mixed Berry Nutty Crumble
Notes: This recipe works with fresh or frozen and defrosted berries. Once defrosted, reserve 1/4 cup / 60 ml of the juice, and drain away the rest. This dessert is not very sweet. I prefer to let the sweet-tartness of the berries and buttery richness of the nut topping shine through. Plus topping with ice cream or coconut yogurt adds sweetness. But adjust accordingly, if needed and depending on the tartness of your berries.
- 8 cups (2.5 lb/1.1 kg) berries (I used a mix of huckleberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
- 2 Tbsp. arrowroot (or cornstarch)
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Nutty Crumble (recipe below)
- 1 cup (100 gr) almond flour
- 1 cup (100 gr) pecans
- 1/2 cup (45 gr) unsweetened coconut, shredded or flaked
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 Tbsp. (60 ml) melted coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
- Use a silicone spatula or large wooden spoon to gently mix berries with arrowroot, lemon and maple, folding from the bottom up. If using frozen, defrosted berries, first whisk arrowroot, lemon and maple into reserved 1/4 cup juice. Fold in berries. Set aside while making crumble.
- In a small food processor, pulse pecans to a course crumb. Empty into a medium mixing bowl. Add shredded or flaked coconut to the food processor (no need to clean the bowl) and pulse to a fine crumb. Empty into bowl with pecans. Add almond flour, cinnamon, and salt to pecans and coconut. Mix, then add melted oil and maple syrup. Stir well and use the back of your spoon or flat side of spatula (or your hand) to firmly press down on mixture so it begins to stick together. Keep stirring and pressing. It takes a minute for the almond flour to absorb the liquid and begin sticking. If it's not sticking, add an extra tablespoon of oil.
- Assemble crumble: Stir berry mixture once more, then pour into 9x11 inch baking dish (or 6-8 ramekins). Form large clumps of crumble in your hand and drop larger and smaller pieces of the clumps over berries until they're mostly covered. Bake for 30 minutes, or until berries are bubbling and crumble is golden brown. Ramekins will take 20-25 minutes, depending on exact size.
Huckleberries provided by Bay Area Herbs & Specialties. All opinions are my own.