Every summer I tend to have a fall-back dessert: something quick and simple that can easily be adapted to whatever fresh fruit is hanging out in the fridge. Previously there’s been cobbler and fruit crumb bars; and this year it’s a good old fashioned crumble.
It’s about as unfussy and simple as it gets: toss fruit with a little sugar and spice, and mix up a quick, buttery crumb to sprinkle on top. No softening of butter or mixer needed. Eat with yogurt for breakfast or ice cream for dessert, warm or cold. Repeat.
Cherry Berry Almond Crumble
Makes one 8×8 pan
For the filling:
- ~6 c cherries and/or berries, pitted and sliced/halved if necessary (I used equal parts sour cherries, sweet cherries, and strawberries)
- 60-100g / 1/3-1/2 c sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit and preferably a mix of brown and granulated
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of vanilla extract
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
- 3 Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
For the almond crumble:
- 120g / 1 c AP flour
- 4T almond flour
- 113g / 8 Tbsp butter, cold and diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 50g / 1/4 c brown sugar
- 25g / scant 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Stir together all filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside while you prepare the crumble.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together all crumble ingredients except for the butter. Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture begins forming crumbs. Squeeze the mixture together to form large clumps.
- Pour the filling into an 8×8 square pan. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool for about an hour before serving, if you can.
I’ve been making a lot of tarts lately, partially because all my pie plates are currently packed away in preparation for our move in a couple weeks — but also because they’re just so fun, elegant, and easy. Tarts are a good vehicle for using up those bits of leftover curd, fruit, jam, etc. in the fridge. This berry mascarpone tart was no exception. I had a little bit of mascarpone left over from all the wedding cake adventures earlier this month, so I added it to some pastry cream and it was soooo good! Creamy but not too heavy and perfect with some fresh berries — basically, an ideal summer dessert.
The tart crust is similar to the one I posted a couple weeks ago, though the proportions are courtesy of Pierre Herme. A little almond flour adds wonderful flavor and slightly crisper texture. I prepared the crust the same way I did the last (mixing in food processor, rolling out right after mixing and freezing the dough in the pan before baking), and it worked like a charm. To add a little texture I mixed up a little almond crumble, because crumbs just make everything better.
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Berry Mascarpone Tart with Almond Crumble
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the Almond Pate Sucree (makes enough for 2 tart shells):
Adapted from Pierre Herme
- 245g AP flour
- 75g icing sugar
- 50g almond flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 143g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
For the Mascarpone Cream:
Adapted from Bake from Scratch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 55g / 1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
- 24g / 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 169g / 3/4 c mascarpone cheese, room temperature
For the Almond Crumble:
Adapted from Ottolenghi
- 50g raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 25g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 38g flour (AP or whole wheat, or a mix of the two)
- 25g brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 454g / 1 lb mixed fresh berries
For the Almond Pate Sucree:
- Place the flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the butter is cut in (you want irregular pieces ranging in size from a pea to a quarter).
- Whisk the egg and vanilla together lightly to combine. Add the egg mixture in stages, pulsing after each addition. Once the egg is added, pulse in 10 second increments until the dough forms clumps (you don’t want it completely smooth). Once the dough reaches this stage, dump it onto a clean countertop or silpat and gently knead until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two equal portions and reserve one for a future tart (well-wrapped, you can refrigerate it for a couple days, or freeze for a month). Place the remaining piece of dough between two Silpats (or pieces of plastic wrap) and roll it out into a roughly 12-inch circle of about a 1/4″ thickness. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch tart tin. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and let it stand for about 5 minutes, just to make it pliable. Turn dough into the tart tin and trim the overhang to about 1/2 an inch. Fold the overhang in to reinforce the edges. If there are any tears or cracks, use some of the extra dough to patch it up. Pierce the dough all over with a fork, then wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a piece of foil and fit it firmly over the chilled tart dough. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil (if the crust has risen at all press it down gently with the back of a spoon). If any cracks have formed, use some of the reserved dough to patch it. Bake crust for another 5-10 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
For the Mascarpone Cream:
- Place the mascarpone in a medium bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over it.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk, and sugar together until smooth. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously to combine (ensure there are no lumps!).
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until just at the boil. Remove from heat; and slowly but steadily pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. When all the milk has been added, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat, still whisking constantly. Once the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, cook the mixture for a minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. You now have pastry cream!
- Scrape the pastry cream into the strainer onto the mascarpone, pushing it through with a spatula or spoon. Let the mixture stand for ~30 seconds, then whisk to combine. Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the cream so a skin doesn’t form. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour before using.
For the Almond Crumble:
- Preheat oven to 300F and line a small baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- Combine the almonds and flour in a small bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and salt.
- Pour the mixture into a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Whisk the mascarpone cream until smooth and spreadable. Using an offset spatula, spread the mascarpone cream evenly in the tart shell. Top with fresh berries and crumble. Serve chilled with additional crumble on the side. Best served within a day of assembling, but leftovers keep pretty well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
This post is created in partnership with Tre Stelle’s Great Canadian Cheese Summer Sweepstakes; as always all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.
It’s officially farmer’s market season here in Toronto. Most Saturdays we head down to our local market and let the best looking produce dictate our weekend meals. And for the last few weeks, it’s been all about juicy strawberries and fresh herbs.
While dessert is usually the first thing that comes to mind when berries start cropping up, I also like adding berries to salads and savoury dishes for natural sweetness and pops of color. Since strawberries and basil pair so beautifully, I decided to take it one step further by adding strawberries to some pesto toasts. To complement the bright, sweet strawberries and sharp, herby pesto, I also added a handful of fresh Tre Stelle Bocconcini Pearls for some needed creaminess and texture. The result is a fresh summery toast that’s great on its own for breakfast or paired with a bowl of fresh tomato soup for lunch or a light dinner.
To celebrate the season, Tre Stelle is currently running their Great Canadian Cheese Summer Sweepstakes with over 150 prizes up for grabs — including 3 trips for two to the Tre Stelle cooking school in Niagara! To be eligible to win, purchase any specially marked tubs of Tre Stelle Feta or Bocconcini from your local grocery store and head over to the Tre Stelle website to enter now through August 31st. Good luck!
Note: You can make these toasts with store bought pesto, but I highly recommend hand-chopping your own. The texture and flavour is far superior to the pasty, flat-tasting types typically found in supermarkets. You can also use regular sized Bocconcini balls, sliced, to top the toasts — I just liked the festive look of the pearls!
Summer Pesto Toasts with Strawberries and Bocconcini
Serves 4 as an appetizer
- Four 1/2” thick slices of crusty sourdough bread, toasted
- 4 Tbsp pesto, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought
- 4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 container Tre Stelle Bocconcini Pearls
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Spread each slice of toast with a tablespoon of pesto. Top with strawberry slices and a generous handful of bocconcini pearls. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!
Makes ~1 cup
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large bunch fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 c pine nuts, toasted
- Kosher salt to taste
- ~1/4 c olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Smash the garlic clove and chop along with a handful of pine nuts. Add a handful of basil and continue chopping, scraping your knife off as needed.
- Continue this process of chopping and scraping, alternating between adding handfuls of basil and pine nuts, until you’ve used them up and the desired texture is achieved (I like it fairly fine, but with some bigger chunks in there for texture).
- Transfer to a bowl and add a generous pinch of salt and the juice of half a lemon. Stir to combine, then add a tablespoon of olive oil at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You don’t need a lot of oil, just enough to cover the mixture. Usually about ~1/4 cup does it for me.
- Taste and add more salt if necessary. Best enjoyed immediately, but you can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for a few days. Just stir before using.
And just like that, it’s mid-August.
This summer — this whole year, really — has been a bit of a blur. Is it new parenthood? I don’t know. I do know that all of a sudden I’m looking up ideas for first birthday cakes and wondering how we made it here so fast.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I still have about a month before that first birthday, so it’s time to take advantage of this late summer fruit. Pies are usually my go-to for using up ripe and unphotogenic fruit, but I thought I’d go for quick(er) and rustic and opt for a galette this time around. After making this I wondered why I don’t galette more often. They’re easy and unfussy, and also the perfect size for our Sunday night family dinners. While I’m certainly not giving up pies, I do think galettes have earned their spot in the dessert rotation.
My favorite pie crust recipe these days is half all-purpose flour, one quarter spelt, and one quarter rye. The whole grains really pair well with fruit and lend a depth of flavor. I’ve also started adding a couple of turns to my pie dough right after mixing (like making puff pastry) — it makes the final rolling out a lot easier and adds some nice flaky layers. The crust recipe below will make enough for one double crusted pie, or two medium-sized galettes. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months (well-wrapped).
This recipe is very forgiving. Use more or less sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit, or change the fruit altogether. I think a nectarine + blackberry combo would be amazing, as would peaches + plums.
Late Summer Galette
Serves 6-8 | Adapted from Apartment 2B Baking Co.
Galette Crust Ingredients (Makes enough for two galettes):
- 1 1/3 c / 170g all purpose flour
- 1 1/3 c / 170g rye or spelt flour, or mix of the two
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 255g very cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 c ice water
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Add the butter and quickly rub it into the flour with your fingers until some pieces are the size of peas, some lima beans. Flatten the pieces of butter by squeezing them between your fingers. If the butter gets too soft / melty at any point, stick the mixture into the fridge for a few minutes before proceeding.
- Add the cider vinegar to the ice water and gradually add to the butter-flour mixture, a couple tablespoons at a time. Mix until the water is evenly distributed and the dough holds together when you squeeze it. You may not need all the water; you may need a tablespoon or two more.
- Dump the entire mass onto a work surface and divide into 8 equal parts. Using the heel of your hand, drag each part across the work surface. Essentially you are creating sheets of butter in your dough. Once you have flattened all eight parts, stack them together and pat into a rough square. (If your dough feels sticky at this point, transfer to the fridge and chill about 10 minutes before proceeding.) Lightly flour your surface and roll into a rectangle about 8″ x 11″. The dough may be a bit crumbly, but that’s fine. Gently fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Then turn the dough so the seam is at the top and parallel to your body. Repeat this process 1-3 more times. Divide in half, then wrap each half in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, before using. (You can also freeze the dough at this point and defrost in the fridge the night before you want to use it.)
Galette Filling Ingredients:
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- Zest of 1/2 a lemon
- Pinch of saffron (optional)
- 1 c peaches, pitted and sliced (about 2 medium, or half a pound)
- 1/2 c raspberries
- 1/2 c strawberries, diced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 c peach or berry jam
- 1 egg, beaten
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Assemble the galette:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of your dough into a rough 12-13 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare your filling.
- Zest half a lemon into a medium bowl. Add the granulated sugar and saffron, if using, and rub the lemon and saffron into the sugar with your fingers until you can smell the lemon. Add the salt and cornstarch and mix to combine. Add the fruit to the bowl and toss gently to combine.
- Remove crust from the fridge. Spread the jam in the center, leaving about a 2-inch border around the edges. Top with the fruit, leaving any excess juice behind. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, pressing gently to seal. Chill until pastry is firm, at least twenty minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400C.
When ready to bake, brush crust gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle a generous handful of turbinado sugar over the top. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, rotating pan once for even baking. Allow to cool before serving.