Even the easiest desserts can have pitfalls.
Peach Crisp Dessert
Credit: Iain Bagwell

When the weather warms up down South, we love to bake delicious desserts using the fresh local fruits that become so abundant. While juicy berries and sweet stone fruits are excellent on their own, these favored fruits really shine when they are baked into quick and easy treats, such as blueberry crisps and peach crumbles. Even the simplest dishes can have pitfalls, however. Read on for three mistakes to avoid when making a fruit crumble.

You don't use the right sized baking dish:

As with all cobbler-type desserts, everyone wants a bit of the crispy or crumbly topping with every bite of fruit filling. If you use a dish that is too deep, you will likely bake up something that resembles a pot of stewed fruit with a thin layer of crust on top. Once the topping has been spooned off, you are left with a lot of soupy fruit on the bottom of the baking dish. For pretty serving presentations, the proper sized baking dish will guarantee a good helping of crispy topping along with the fruit filling.

You don't use the right amount of butter:

Not enough butter, and your topping will be a dry, floury mess. Too much butter and your topping becomes a greasy blob. Some recipes will ask you to cut in cold butter along with your dry ingredients, resulting in pea size pieces that are sprinkled across the hot fruit filling. Other recipes will instruct you to melt butter, anywhere from a couple of tablespoons on up, and pour it over the dry ingredients of the topping. Butter, which encourages both browning and crispness, is the magic ingredient in getting your topping just right, so follow the recipe instructions. But if you feel your topping is still too dry and crumbly, (even for a crumble,) add a bit more melted butter, a tablespoon at a time.

You don't have enough texture and taste in the topping:

There is nothing wrong with a simple flour, butter, and sugar topping, but you might consider adding a few extra elements in order to create a textural contrast with the pudding-like fruit filling. Toss in some crunchy components, like chopped nuts or healthy oats. Don't be afraid to stir in an unexpected but complimentary spice or herb to kick the taste up a notch, and a light dusting of Demerara sugar adds a beautiful, caramelized finish.

You might also be interested in:

Be sure and visit your farmers' market regularly for the best and brightest produce.