The Joys of Summer: fruit crumbles

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The stands at the farmers’ markets are full of fruit right now, and after you’ve eaten all that you can eat raw, it’s fun to make a special dessert here and there. This one is delicious, healthy as desserts go, and nearly as easy as eating the fruit raw.
Currently I’m experimenting with chia seeds in cooking and have found that, unlike many whole grains, they can actually taste good in desserts. I use them lightly toasted, and they add a pleasant nutty flavor as well as an extra nutritional punch to many dishes. Please see the end of this post for directions on toasting them.
This crumble is good with nearly any fruit. Apples, berries of all kinds, plums (especially the dry-fleshed prune plums that are showing up in the farmers’ markets right now)and figs are all successful. Click the link below the next photo to get the recipe. This photo shows a hot serving hidden under organic vanilla ice cream. After all, summer doesn’t last forever.
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Clich here for the recipe
To fill an 8-inch square pan, you will need:
3 cups fresh fruit, prepared for cooking. For berries, just rinse them. Apples need to be peeled and cored, figs just cut in half, peaches seeded and slivered, plums halved and seeded, etc.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted chia seeds (see below)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw or light brown sugar. 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon unbleached flour. 1/2 cup butter, preferably pastured (Organic Valley now produces this and it’s available at La Montanita Co-op and other local stores.)
1/2 teaspoon salt if the butter is unsalted (but salted butter works fine here)
a good grating of fresh nutmeg, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon depending on taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a little of the butter to butter an 8 inch square cake pan. Put the prepared fruit in the pan and sprinkle with one tablespoon of flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and a pinch of salt. Toss lightly with the fruit but don’t worry about mixing it in thoroughly. In a bowl, combine the rolled oats, chia seeds, salt, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the grated nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of flour. Add the butter cut into pats, and rub it in with your fingers until well distributed. Put the crumble mixture on top of the fruit, set the pan in the oven, and bake at 375 degrees until the top is brown and crusty, about 35 minutes. Eat with or without ice cream.

Chia seeds: For more on chia seeds and why I’m enthusuastic about them, see my previous post. I find them most useful in baking when toasted, which keeps them from producing the slippery coating they will otherwise make as soon as moisture hits them. To toast them, put a frying pan over medium heat and heat it. Put in 1-2 cups of chia seeds and toast, stirring continually and shaking the pan to make sure that none burn, until they develop a toasted flavor. They don’t change color much, and the most reliable guide is to take out a pinch, cool it a few seconds on a saucer, and taste. If they taste toasty, nutty, and good, stop there. Be careful not to burn them. Pour into a cool bowl to cool off, so they don’t overheat in the pan, and when cool store in an airtight jar.

One response to this post.

  1. […] in the blender. See my previous blog post on fruit crumbles for directions on toasting chia seeds. Click here to navigate to that post. After the batter sits for the needed twelve hours, you may find that you […]


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