Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fruits of Abundance

Even with the generally cool summer we've had, the fruit has been prolific. Raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, plums....the crops have been amazing.

Of course one of the best and simplest ways to eat these fruits are to pick and pop directly in the mouth. But sometimes it's nice to "switch things up" particularly if an abundance of fruit has ripened at the same time. And using the fruits in recipes provides another vehicle by which to share the goodness of both fruit and other healthy ingredients with others.

One recipe that I've been experimenting with lately is crisp or crumble. There are tons of good recipes for this but one additional challenge that I've been working with is gluten-free. Below is my version of fruit crumble -- please feel free to enjoy and share.

Fruit Crumble

Fruit Filling
  • 6 cups of fruit -- either use on fruit, or try mixing them up: rhubarb and cherry, rhubarb and raspberry, rhubarb and apple, or triple berry (blue berry, strawberry and raspberry)
  • About 4 Tablespoons of sugar -- more or less depending on the fruit.
  • About 2 Tablespoons of lemon -- more or less depending on the moisture content of the fruit
  • 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Cinnamon, vanilla or other baking spices you enjoy to taste

Preparing the filling:

Mix the fruit together in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice to cover. Add the cornstarch, sugar and spices and mix together thoroughly. Put the mixture in a baking pan (any size that is appropriate for the mixture) that is large enough to allow for about an inch clearance. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375 for about 30 minutes (or until bubbly).

Crumble topping

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking power
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)

Note 1: If you can't find the flours listed about try others. As I'm learning, the key with gluten-free baking is that you typically can't use just 1 of any type of flour -- because no one flour "fits the bill" like white/wheat flour. If you go in with the attitude that the worst that can happen is that the crumble won't quite meet your expectations -- but the results of the dessert will still be tasty -- what's the worst that could happen?!

Note 2: The above portions can be increased or decreased depending on the amount of filling you have and the amount of topping you enjoy on your treat. OR you can also make extra and freeze for another day!

Preparing the topping:

While the filling is baking and the butter melting on a burner set to low, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the melted butter into the dry mixture and combine completely. The mixture will look a little like a moiste cookie dough. When the fruit is done baking, add the topping, spreading out evenly across the top of the fruit. Return to the oven and heat for another 15 minutes (or until the topping takes on a nice golden brown color). When you take it out of the oven, you can also add a little demerara sugar (i.e., raw sugar) on top for a nice little added touch. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes. (Personally, I think it tastes even BETTER the next day.)

ENJOY! Eat well and live beyond yourself.

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