An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Blackberry Basil Crumble

Speaking of blackberries...with all of these little tart packages in my fridge, freezer and purse, I have been whipping up all kinds of recipes.  Sometimes for a snack I mix blackberries with sliced almonds.  Sometimes I eat them like popcorn.  And sometimes (actually twice in the last week) I have made Blackberry Basil Crumble.  I got the idea from the book 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver which is such an inspiring book.  Really made me want to grow my own food, or at least use fresh local ingredients as much as possible.  And it brings back memories of the summer I lived in the Appalachian mountains. 

So after all this blackberry picking, I bought some basil and made a crumble.  The first time I used whole wheat pastry flour and the second time I ground oats to make oat flour.  They are neck and neck in the rankings, but the oat flour version won by a grain.  The oats give the crumble a grainier, richer flavor that goes so nicely with the fresh basil.

I also used verjus in the recipe.  For those of you new to verjus, it is an acidic juice made from pressing unripe grapes.  It tastes like a very smooth smooth you could almost pour yourself a glass of it.  But if you have balsamic vinegar, you can swap that into the recipe instead of the verjus.  It will mix just as nicely with the honey.

So do yourself, your friends and your family a big favor and make this recipe asap.  It sounds a little different with basil in your dessert...but it is quite a pleasant surprise.  It is sort of like drinking mint in mojitos.  Many of you probably have fresh basil growing like crazy in your garden...and us lucky people who have blackberries coming out of our ears won't even have to go to the grocery to get the ingredients.  So enjoy...many times.

Blackberry Basil Crumble
Adapted from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Yields 4-8 servings depending on who you dine with

Blackberry crumble is the perfect finish to a breezy summer meal.  The combination of verjus and honey thread a sweet and acidic balancing act around the berries.  The basil adds a refreshing lightness to the earthy whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour. 

4 cups blackberries
2 Tbsp verjus or balsamic vinegar
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup honey, (melted if using honey that has solidified a little) 
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or ground oat flour
3 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
2/3 stick (6 Tbsp) cold butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a pie dish or ovenproof casserole dish, combine the blackberries, verjus, basil, and honey.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, pour in the flour and brown sugar.  Cut the butter into small cubes.  Using your hands, blend the butter into the flour and sugar until every ingredient is well mixed together.  It is okay for the crumbles to be different sizes.

Crumble the topping onto the blackberries and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden.  Serve with a good quality vanilla ice cream.

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