I am so sorry to have been gone so long. I feel more like a bad boyfriend than a supportive Mother Drucker who is always here for you. But in my heart, it’s the Mother one. I’ve been traipsing around a lot lately, tra lee, tra laa. Hawaii, and Lake Arrowhead, respectively. But we can discuss those sojourns at a later date. For now, let’s pick blackberries:
My wonderful Auntie Trish scored three gorgeous pints of these gem-toned beauties and gifted me with them, as she’s well aware of my pie-baking prowess. (Forgive, I’ve been reading a lot of Kipling.) Of course, you could eat them fresh, with a light shower of sugar and a generous dollop of cream. But when life gives me fresh blackberries, I MUST find a way to butter them. So I did!
I searched for “blackberry crumble,” “blackberry crisp” and “blackberry cobbler.” Crumble seems to be a more English/Aussie thing, often incorporating oats. Cobbler is kind of like biscuit dough or dumplings, floating on the fruit. Noooo…. Crisp is butter, sugar, flour, similar to pie crust but less persnickety — perfect for my lazy summer mood. WINNER.
When fruit is this good, the best thing to do is keep the recipe simple and let the star of the show take center stage. I used my hands to gently toss the fruit, cut in the butter with my new brand pastry blender (thanks, Surfas!):
I had this bodacious blackberry beauty in the oven in 15 minutes flat. (EASY!) And it’s the best thing I’ve baked in a long time. The berries were jammy and sweet, but still firm and juicy. The topping stayed golden brown and crisp, with a bit of creaminess where it met the fruit, which didn’t in the least detract from the overall give and take of crunchy top and soft berry bottom.
If I were not so GREEDY, I would have taken a picture of the pretty crisp in a bowl with a scoop of Haagen-Dazs vanilla making creamy, delectable inroads into the virgin purple fruit. BUT NO. I ate it all up. So I stole this picture. I can assure you, it’s very accurate:
Okay, okay enough with the chit chat, lemme give you the recipe already! This makes 8 servings and uses 5 pints of blackberries. Since I only had 3 pints, I halved the berry ingredients, but made the full topping recipe. I probably used 2/3 of my topping mix and threw the rest away. And I’d do it again.
1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 c (one stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I use salted butter and omit the next ingredient)
1 tsp coarse salt
2 3/4 lbs (5 pints) fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons instant tapioca
3/4 c granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 1/4 c. orange juice
Preheat oven to 375•. Combine flour, brown sugar, butter and salt with a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) until mix resembles coarse crumbs. In a large bowl, use your hands to gently toss together blackberries, tapioca, granulated sugar, orange zest and juice. Pour blackberry mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with flour mixture. Bake until topping is golden and juices are bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.