I just celebrated my 5th Cancerversary of Ovarian Cancer on Monday, June 30. As my gynecological-oncologists said, “It’s a BIG DEAL”. I celebrated with an Ice Cream Social Benefit in my backyard garden. (I raised money for the Ovarian Cancer Survivors Foundation, which supports a free retreat for OVCA survivors.) Friends and family came over and delicious ice cream (from Mallard’s in Bellingham) and homemade coconut milk vanilla strawberry ice “cream” as well as an assortment of homemade toppings.
Some of the toppings were healthier than others, and one of these treats was a blueberry and apple crumble. It’s one of my favorite desserts to make any time of the year — especially in the summer when my garden and the Edmonds Market offer a bounty of berries and summer fruits. It’s a “healthy” dessert and sometimes I’ve been known to have it in the morning with yogurt for my breakfast. Best of all it’s easy to make (really don’t need to have an exact recipe) and it’s easy to change up depending upon what you have available in your pantry. It’s a PERFECT dessert for this long week-end. So head to the market and pick up fresh berries, peaches, nectarines or whatever catches your palate. You will want to print out this recipe so that you can use it over and over and over:
1) Slice your fruit (no need to peel). Mix with any sweetener of your choice (sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.) and other flavorings of your choice such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, grand Marnier, rum… (not all of them though….just whatever suits your taste buds). If the fruit is already very sweet, you won’t need much added sweetener. Put this mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish.
2) Mix 1 cup of CHILLED butter cut up into small pieces (NOT margarine or shortening) and 1 heaping cup of flour (I like to use one-half white/one-half whole wheat flour). I use my food processor to whirl it into little pieces, but you can use a pastry cutter or your hands. Don’t over-process this mixture (or you’ll end up with dough instead of crumble.) You want to have small, pea-size pieces of the flour/butter mixture.
3) Mix in about 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of rolled oats. You can also add nuts if you like. The amounts of sugar, oats and nuts can vary according to your taste. If you don’t like oats just leave them out. Personally I love them in a crisp because they add great texture and they make it a healthier treat! Stick this mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so. This mixture freezes very well so when I make it I often double the recipe and freeze the unused portion.
4) Once chilled, sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the fruit. Don’t press it down. Just make sure it covers all of the fruit and the corners of the dish.
5) Bake at 400 degrees F until the top is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling. It takes about 30 minutes but it depends on how deep the fruit mixture is in your dish. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, Greek yogurt or vanilla custard.
Hope that there are leftovers so that you can eat it for breakfast! Happy Summer. Happy Healthy Eating.
– By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share here experiments with her family. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and currently chef assists at PCC Cooks and NuCulinary Cooking School. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at email@example.com.