On rare occasion I am moved to make a fruit dessert—rare, because I’m inclined to opt for chocolate…almost always. Three things converged to sway me from normalcy: 1) Bruce came home with several boxes of gorgeous raspberries; 2) I saw an irresistible photo of huckleberry crisps in the new Saveur; and 3) Emma and I had a lovely late girls’ lunch, we weren’t particularly hungry and Bruce didn’t feel like grilling the pork loin that I’d planned for dinner along with some fresh corn. So, I made these crumbles, which took no time at all, and we sat down to a Reverse Dinner (read, dessert first). Emma and I both love Reverse Dinners (I think it’s a chick thing), but it throws Bruce off (I think guys always want to know: “Where’s the meat?”). As is usually the case with our Reverse Dinners, Emma and I quit after the the yummy first course, but Bruce went on and made himself an omelet.
As for the crumbles, they were as good as you get…without chocolate.
2 individual crumbles, loosely adapted from Saveur
1/8 cup rolled oats
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
3 T plus 1/8 to 1/4 cup sugar (the latter, depending on the sweetness of the berries)
3 T flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. kosher salt
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pints raspberries
1-2 T cornstarch, depending on how firm your raspberries are
Creme fraiche, vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place two ceramic ramekins on a cookie sheet–I used low (about 1-inch) ones, about 4 inches in diameter. If truth be known, these are actually ramekins from TJ’s Creme Brulee with Raspberries that I often keep in the freezer for a special dessert when Emma has a sleepover and I don’t feel like baking.
In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons sugar, flour, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the juice of half a lemon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Work in the butter with your hands until mixture is crumbly; chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
In another bowl, stir together remaining sugar, salt and vanilla with the juice of the other half a lemon. Add the raspberries and cornstarch and combine carefully–you don’t want to break the raspberries.
Divide the berries among the ramekins. Mound the topping over each. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the berries are bubbly and the topping is browned. Top with creme fraiche, or ice cream (guess what flavor we used?).