Crumble for a Crowd

I usually help out when my Mom has some sort of event. And by “help out,” I mean bring dessert. In this case, it was her book group’s annual Scene Night, which I also take part in and emcee…so I guess I can officially say I “help out” with this one. The Boy moves furniture, and then hides when all the ladies arrive. It’s a good deal.
People always bring chocolate, so I decided to go with something from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I’d never made anything from the book before, but I’d been drooling over the pictures for months, so it was about time. The book is divided up by season, which makes it a cinch to cook seasonally (like all my blogs are always telling me to do). I flipped to “Winter” and picked Apple Cranberry Oat Crumble.
But oh, fickle California! I headed to the grocery store and could not find a single cranberry. Not frozen, not fresh. Nothing. So, in a moment of improvisation and really-not-wanting-to-go-to-another-store, I picked up some raspberries and hoped for the best.
You start out with apples. This is the most time-consuming part of the dessert, which is otherwise pretty simple. You peel, slice, peel, slice, peel, slice, until you’ve got approximately a small mountain of apples.

Then, you make the topping so it can chill while you’re doing the rest of everything. It’s got oats, so it’s totally healthy. Just don’t mind the brown sugar. Or the butter. Totally healthy.

Once the topping is safely cooling, you mix together your fruit. At this point, I still wasn’t sure about the raspberries, but they sure looked pretty:

You stir in sugar and a little cornstarch and cinnamon to thicken and sweeten the filling before piling it all into a big baking dish.

And in the end – a lovely brown crispy crumble. After all the cranberry-raspberry stress, this may actually be the best crisp/crumble I’ve ever made. The tart raspberries gave it a uniquely fresh, fruity flavor, but all credit goes to authors Cory and Julie for inventing my new favorite crumble topping. Normally, I find crumbles a bit too oaty and “granola” tasting, but this was the perfect texture of buttery, crumbly, crunchy sweetness. I probably could have eaten half the pan. Luckily, Mom’s book group was all too happy to do that for me.

Apple Raspberry Oat Crumble
Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

This really is an easy dessert (especially if you can hire a sous chef to peel and slice your apples), and great for a crowd. I’m sure it’s delicious with cranberries as well, and if you want to try that original version, substitute fresh or frozen cranberries for the raspberries. I even had one of my Mom’s friends say, “I don’t even like apple desserts, and this is amazing.” Score one for Kelly. Make this now.

Yield: 8 to 12 Servings
Time: 60 to 70 Min

Ingredients:
Butter to grease dish
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, to serve

Topping Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:
8 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch think
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tb cornstarch
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish.

To make the topping, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then clump with your hands. Place topping in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, toss the apples, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a (very) large bowl. Spread filling in buttered baking dish.

Press the topping evenly over the fruit, then bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the crumble is lightly golden and the filling is bubbling up in the corners. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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