Summer fruit calls for summer cobblers and crumbles, and I'm no procrastinator when it comes to such things. This crumble is the best one I've cooked up so far this summer — it's a thick, jammy pan of tangy rhubarb and blackberries, topped with a brown sugar cobbler-crumble, thick and chewy, like the best cross of a cookie and a biscuit. But I can't take any credit at all; with summer fruit like this, how can you go wrong?
My husband doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but put a fruity cobbler in front of him and his eyes light up. He'll eat a crumble like this for breakfast, too, so double motivation for me to cook up crumbles and cobblers all summer long.
The tanginess of rhubarb and blackberries inspired me here, but so did my favorite crumble topping: The decadent, butter-drenched plum crumble from Orangette, a recipe adapted from Marion Burros and Luisa Weiss. Plums topped with a cookie-like crumble, then nearly a full stick (be still my heart!) of melted butter.
I was certainly inspired by that recipe, and I work from it here, but I do tone it down just a bit. I'm not opposed to that full stick of butter, see, but I save it for special times. I wanted a cobbler well-suited for breakfast, and so even though I doubled the size of the original topping recipe, I left the butter quantity the same, cutting it effectively in half for each portion. I also increased the proportion of eggs to flour, making this a soft, more biscuit-y topping. It tastes like brown sugar and vanilla, and adds a little more sweetness to the savory walnuts above and the not-very-sweet fruit below.
And yes, let's talk about that fruit again for a moment. I love the taste of rhubarb and hate when it's covered up by sugar. Here it stands proudly tangy and not too sweet; this is a cobbler designed to go with whipped cream or ice cream; they pair beautifully together.
Blackberry Rhubarb Crumble
serves 8 to 12
For the fruit: 18 ounces fresh blackberries, washed and picked over 1 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger Pinch salt
For the crumble topping: 1 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup dark brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
Heat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with baking spray.
Toss the blackberries and rhubarb together gently with the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Spread in the prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Whisk in the brown sugar, breaking up any large clumps. In a small separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and use your hands to mix the eggs into the flour. Squeeze and pinch the mixture together; it will be clumpy, with a loose scree of crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.
Drop the larger, wetter clumps of dough over the fruit. Shake the drier crumbs over top, distributing the douhg evenly over the fruit. Sprinkle the top with the chopped walnuts, then pour the melted butter over everything.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the crumble is baked through. Let sit for about 30 minutes before eating.