My husband and I are currently visiting my mother on Gabriola Island, where almost exactly three years ago, we were married. It has been a spectacular trip, so far mostly focused on seeing beloved family and friends. We had a day with my Aunt Mona (of Bean Salad and Ginger Cake fame on this blog…to name just a few). We have had time with my dad‘s oldest friends, and the newer friends and neighbors who helped him out when he was building his house here on the island. We had a lunch with Thea, my best friend in grade school (see Strawberry Shortcake for Haters) and her mother Pippa (See Oat Cookies That Embrace Complexity). Basically, I am visiting the various characters from all of the childhood stories on this blog.
Blackberries, apples and plums are all in season right now on Gabriola. The purpose of this recipe is to use up ripe blackberries. Aside from visiting, my mother and I have been doing some quality blackberry picking. My mother can pick blackberries faster than anyone else…well at least a lot faster than me. Maybe I am eating too many? She picks five before dropping them into her bucket and somehow does not drop them even though she has tiny hands. Very impressive.
The apples and pears provide a bit of pectin so that the whole thing doesn’t get too soupy. We used Gravenstein apples but any old-fashioned small, firm, tart apple will do. We bought the plums and apples from the orchard that supplied the plums for the plum marmalade that we made as a gift for our wedding guests. I am hoping that we will have a chance to hit the wild plum orchard while we are here, but it might be tricky since we don’t have a car.
I know that this recipe seems like it will make too much, but trust me you will not want a dainty portion of this dessert and you can eat the leftovers for breakfast. My husband has been hard at work fixing my mother’s deck, and he deserves large quantities of blackberry crumble as a reward. But, even without the hunger that comes from home improvement, we would not have had any trouble eating this all up.
BLACKBERRY, APPLE, PLUM CRUMBLE
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 6 plums, pitted and thinly sliced (about 1 and 3/4 cup)
- 2 small Gravenstein apples, cored and thinly sliced (about 1 and 3/4 cup)
- 6 cups fresh ripe blackberries
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup crystalized ginger, finely chopped (optional but very good)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and/or pecans)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 8 Tablespoons of cold butter, cut into 8 chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice flour and tapioca or corn starch. Divide the mix into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup.
- Combine the plums, apples, blackberries, lemon zest, crystalized ginger, white sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour mix in a 17″x 14″ baking dish (or divide it between two smaller dishes).
- In a large bowl, combine the other 1/2 cup of flour mix with the rolled oats, chopped nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using your hands, work the butter into the oat mixture until it will hold together when squeezed.
- Crumble the oat mixture evenly over the fruit and bake for 45 minutes.
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