3 Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Fruit Crumble

Even the easiest desserts can have pitfalls.

Peach Crisp Dessert
Photo: 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.

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.

Use the Right Amount of Butter

Not enough butter, and your topping will be a dry, floury mess. Too much butter and your topping will become a greasy blob or disappointingly soggy. 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. If you think it's too wet, add a little more flour to soak up the extra butter.

Have Enough Texture 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, seeds, 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.

Store and Reheat Your Crumble

Nothing beats a perfect apple crumble bubbling fresh from the oven, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Leftover crumble doesn't have to be a disappointment. Store the dessert in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat, use the oven instead of the microwave to ensure even warming. Bake at 350˚F until heated through.

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

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