I LOVE berries. Not only are they delicious, to me they are just as beautiful as flowers. I have over 100 strawberry plants, 17 blueberry bushes, a humongous blackberry patch, (Chester thornless) and beauteous, Heritage raspberries. Two years ago I added a couple gooseberry and tayberry bushes and a few black and red currant bushes. Heads up on eating raw currants; not only are they excruciatingly sour, they caused painful mouth sores and sensitive teeth for me. I didn’t eat many, just a few here and there on my way back and forth to the garden. Happily, it didn’t last for more than a couple days. The currants are definitely being slated for jam or cordial from now on, maybe liqueur. I have some tincturing now and have a vision of a little glass of ruby red liqueur, sparkling in the firelight, on Christmas night. But, I will get back to the berries. I’ve been harvesting and eating loads of them since June. Fresh berries with cream, THE best dessert! Frozen berries are better cooked. It’s so easy to stick a few berry filled ramekins, or baking dish, in the oven along with dinner. Whip up some fresh cream, and there you have a delicious and healthy dessert. A berry crumble is simple too. I mix up batches of crumb topping and freeze that as well. Fill your ramekins or baking dish with frozen berries, add a little sugar and then top it with the frozen crumb mixture. Berries cook down a lot, so fill to the top. If I’m thinking ahead, I will let this sit for 20 minutes or so to defrost. It defrosts quickly and the berries are juicier if you don’t cook them frozen. Into the oven it goes. Watch for the berries to start bubbling, that is when it is ready. Single serve ramekins are done in about 15 minutes. Small baking dishes , about 35 minutes. This is really good with freshly whipped cream too. What isn’t, actually? Here’s the recipe I use for the crumb topping, it makes about 5 1/2 cups.
- 2 cups oats
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter ( 2 sticks, chilled)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine all the ingredients except the butter. Cut the butter into thick slices and add it to the dry ingredients. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, use 2 butter knives or your fingers. The idea is to keep cutting the butter into small pieces whilst mixing it in with the other ingredients. Keep doing this until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over the fruit. Bake in a 350 degree oven. When the berries start to bubble a bit, it is ready.