There's nothing that pairs better with a scoop of ice cream than a slice of fruity pie or bowl of fresh, seasonal crumble. Today I bring you the first signs of summer; a downright plucky combo of just-cooked apricots and strawberries, playing host to a golden, almond cookie-enriched topping.
This past weekend, I had plans to make a strawberry something or other when I stumbled across a small bushel of ripe apricots. My eyes lit up and my mind set to work on how I might star them in my dessert. After perusing a few more aisles, I found an almond cookie I've enjoyed before and threw that into my basket knowing culinary alchemy was about to happen. If I could stay clairvoyant through the mysterious cloud of a recipe swirling in my mind, and let the fruit star in the show, I'd be fine. Turned out I was more than fine — I was thrilled at the results.
This dessert is sassy. It's punchy. It's sweet, tart, crunchy and soft. It hits all the flavor/texture notes and made me wish for more. Hurry up, Summer, so stone fruits and berries can make regular appearances at the dessert table. This was just the best start!
Apricot, Almond and Strawberry CrumbleServes 8 to 10, depending on portion size
For the fruit filling:
About 12 average-sized fresh ripe apricots
2 pints strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the topping:
1 cup oats
1/4 cup oat flour (rye, whole wheat or millet flour would be great here too)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash and cut all fruit into 1/4-inch slices. You should end up with about 8 cups total fruit slices. Toss the fruits in a large bowl with sugar and cornstarch, set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the oats, oat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, 5 almond cookies, and salt. Pulse until a uniform crumb mixture is attained. Add melted butter and pulse about 3 times for 5 seconds each time, until butter is evenly distributed.
Pour cookie/flour mixture into a bowl and stir in slivered almonds. Pour fruit into one large casserole dish (9 x 13") or a large cake/pie tin or several smaller tart molds as I did. The size doesn't matter all that much, though smaller-sized crumbles will bake faster.
Spoon the topping over fruit mixture, pressing firmly so that all the crumble reaches each part of the fruits. If you'd like to go lighter, you could use half the crumble topping and freeze the rest for future use.
Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating the pan at 20 minutes for a nice, even golden color. Serve with ice cream.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)