Monday, January 9, 2017

Cherry Crumble

When I buy fresh cherries over the summer, I buy a LOT of them. My husband and I then spend a bit of time pitting them all and I flash freeze some so have a few gallon bags in the freezer for use year round. I also make Cherry Pie Filling with them I put up by processing in a water bath or steam canner so I have a few jars at any given time conveniently stored in my pantry.

Putting up your own fresh cherries is so much better tasting that store bought, and buying them seasonally and either freezing or canning them takes a bit of time then, but it's so worth it later when you want this dessert as an example. For me, I pulled out a jar of my pie filling and made the crumble; simple, quick and delicious.

What is a crumble?  
A crumble is a dish of British origin that can be made in a sweet or savory version, although the sweet version is much more common. A sweet variety usually contains stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of fat (usually butter), flour, and sugar. A savory version uses meat, vegetables and a sauce for the filling, with cheese replacing sugar in the crumble mix. The crumble is baked in an oven until the topping is crisp. The dessert variety is often served with custard, cream or ice cream as a hearty, warm dessert after a meal. The savory variety can be served with accompanying vegetables.

Popular fruits used in crumbles include apple, blackberry, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry, and plum. Sometimes, a combination of two or more of these fruits may be used in a crumble, for example, rhubarb and apple may be used in the same crumble. The crumble is typically given the name of the dominant fruit in it: for example, a crumble made with apple would get the name of "apple crumble", while one made with rhubarb would get the name of "rhubarb crumble". The topping may also include rolled oats, ground almonds or other nuts, and sometimes sour milk (e.g. vinegar and milk) is added to give the crumble a more extravagant taste. Brown sugar is often sprinkled over the crumble topping, which caramelizes slightly when baked. In some recipes the topping is made from broken biscuits (cookies in American English) or even breakfast cereals, but this is not traditional.

Crumbles became popular in Britain during World War II, when the crumble topping was an economical alternative to pies due to shortages of pastry ingredients as the result of rationing. To further reduce the use of rationed flour, fat and sugar, breadcrumbs or oatmeal could be added to the crumble mix. The dish was also popular due to its simplicity.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 (21-oz) can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (I use the paddle beater on mixer to do this, but you can also pulse in a food processor).

Sprinkle one half of crumb mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with cherry pie filling. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over pie filling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm by itself, or with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.


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