Sweet Redemption: Humble Blackberry Crumble

After the bitter humiliation of last week’s cherry pie, I’ve redeemed myself!  Easy and tasty blackberry crumble.

Humble blackberry crumble

I love blackberries.  When I was in university, I often went for a summer forage in the forest, availing myself of huge buckets of free blackberries.  As time went on and I moved away from the almost-impossible-to-deplete blackberry supply, these darkskinned summer beauties became rare.  Blackberry canes are everywhere, but as a rule, any fruit within easy reach has already been plucked by some other greedy passerby, and few farmers in our area bother to cultivate the spiky plants.  Those that do ensure that you compensate them handsomely for the pain of the picking process.  Lucky me, however, was gifted a basket of thorn-free blackberries yesterday, and I knew some sort of pie needed to be had.

When I have a craving for a fruity dessert and there’s less chance of me knocking out pastry than of me setting up a flour mill in my linen closet, crumble starts calling.  Pies often demand annoyingly long chill-times (sit around for how long while the frickin pastry chills?) and inevitably send me stumbling, floury-fingered, to the cookbook or computer to check exact ratios.  Humble crumble is forgiving, easy, and entirely guestimatable.  Oats, flour, sugar, fat, fruit.  Bam.  It’s adaptable, working just as nicely with autumnal pears and apples as with cherries, berries, and anything sweet and juicy that bakes well (sorry, Mr. Orange).

For the crumble virgin, I jotted down last night’s measurements.  I like it heavy on the topping, with a little honorary fruit underneath.  I also like a somewhat savoury dessert, so rarely add sugar to the fruit.  If you have a real sweet tooth, you might feel the need to douse your fruit in sugar.  And I’ll be judging you for it.  All the way.

Humble Blackberry Crumble


½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup fat (I used half oil and half Earth Balance)


1 ½ cup blackberries

1 T whole wheat flour

a few shakes cinnamon

a few grates fresh nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Grease a small dish.
  3. Add fruit, spices, and 1 T flour to dish, and toss lightly.
  4. Combine crumble ingredients.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Yields 2-4 servings.

And once again . . . the humble crumble.

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