Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are all enjoying beer-soaked bratwursts and remembering all the people who existed and sad things that happened to them so that you could enjoy those bratwursts. Thank a soldier while you're at it.
If you haven't yet made a dessert for the picnic you're headed to this afternoon, here's a recipe you might consider. And if you have already made a dessert, just bookmark this one for later. It comes in handy on many occasions, including but not limited to the following: (1) when you have a lot of frozen fruit taking up space in your freezer that could be better used for breastmilk or baby food cubes; (2) when you make a rich, salty dinner and need a fresh, light dessert to cleanse the palate and round out the meal without making your guests explode; (3) when you blinked and those peaches or plums or apricots or berries that you had on your counter for a week overripened instantaneously; and (4) summer. (And, of course, when you are trying to see how many simple things you can make with rhubarb in one week.) It's one of the best, most useful recipes I've crafted and ends up being a go-to dessert several times every summer. The maple syrup is a perfect compliment to seasonal fruit and the oatmeal crumble proves to be everything you want in a crisp - buttery, chunky, and just sweet enough.
Yield: 4-8 servings, depending on appetite and how much ice cream you eat with it
2 pounds fresh fruit or frozen fruit, thawed and drained (I used about equal parts rhubarb, strawberries, and frozen raspberries, rinsed under cold water; mostly plums + a cup or two of berries also work v. well here)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or brown sugar or maple sugar or vanilla sugar)*
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour (any flour will do, I used spelt this last time)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or 1/3 cup brown sugar)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted or soft
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon and/or ground ginger (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix fruit and maple syrup or sugar in a 9" pie dish or a cake pan comparable in size. Cook fruit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the oats, flour, salt, and any spices you decide to use. In a measuring cup, melt or almost melt the butter. Add in the maple syrup and whisk until combined. Pour the butter-syrup mixture into the oat mixture and stir together with a fork until crumbly. Dollop the mixture evenly on top of slightly-cooked fruit and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the fruit is slightly bubbly. (Check it every couple minutes past 20 - it can burn quickly.)
This is absolutely delicious warm with fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (if you are really dressing it up, try lemon or key lime ice cream or sorbet - yum!) and a glass of champagne. It's also good with vanilla yogurt for breakfast. But... I really like dessert for breakfast.
Note that this recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled to accommodate a crowd or use up a Costco-box-load of fruit. Just use a 13X9" pan or a 2 quart casserole instead of a smaller pan. Baking time should be the same.
(OR - if you are a bit evil - I have not personally done this but have wanted to because let's be honest the best part of a crisp, no matter how good the fruit is, is the crisp - you could just double the topping but not the fruit. But then, really, you might as well just make OMG Cookies.)
* If you are using tart berries, plums, apricots or more rhubarb than other, sweeter fruit, you might want to up the syrup or sugar a bit. Also, of course regular sugar would be fine too, but I'd add the spices and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla then just to give the baked fruit some more desserty tones.