Humble crumble: easy finish to a perfect dinner

Blueberry and Pineapple Crumble DSC01633 When it comes to desserts the world seems to fall into two camps: chocolate lovers and fruit lovers. No one will ever accuse me of short-serving my many chocolate-loving guests, but this one’s for the other half. This simple blueberry and pineapple crumble will delight all fruit lovers at the dinner table, and maybe even win over a choclatier groupie, at least for a night.

Why is a crumble like this always such a universal success?

It’s simply delicious. And multi-seasonal. Of course warm, gooey, and sweet fruits work reliably well on cold winter days, but this dessert is a great stage for the first delightful offerings of the summer harvest. All kinds of berry-fruit combinations will work. I love strawberries with rhubarb for spring; blueberries and peaches in summer. Another summer winner: gooseberries—so good and such a special treat that they are well-worth growing yourself, just for this recipe (as I do!). Back to winter again (though we’re in no rush for that here…), try pineapple, plums, pears… you get the idea.

I recently stumbled upon this combo of blueberry and pineapple, a product of necessity as I was faced one evening with an impromptu dinner party (worse things can happen…) and in need of a dessert. On the hunt, we found two bags of frozen fruit behind the ice maker and underneath some frozen wedding cake.

The outcome was a surprise winner. Until I tasted it, I hadn’t been able to imagine this pastry’s combo flavor in my head. Now the taste is firmly lodged in my personal taste history, happily and with 4 stars. (I always forget; is that memory located in your brain or in your heart?) Let me know if you stumble upon an unlikely winning fruit combination—it’s a fun experiment!

This dessert can be prepared well in advance of dinner. Assemble the portions in 4 oz ramekins and store in the refrigerator. As soon as the main course is on the table, place the crumbles in a 360 degree oven. Fifteen to 20 minutes later goodness will emerge: an elegant steaming bubbling sweet fruity mess. The crumble adds a just-right crunch and the hearty-oats illusion of heart healthiness.

Guten Appetit!

Ingredients for crumble DSC01548


Humble crumble: blueberry and pineapple
A versatile dessert that is easy to prepare in advance and nicely showcases fruits from all seasons
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 3 cups of blueberries (I used frozen ones)
  • 3 cups of pineapple chunks (again, I used the frozen variety)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup sugar

  • For the crumble:
  • 1 stick of butter, cubed
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon zest of orange
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  1. Mix the fruit with the sugar and cornstarch until evenly coated.
  2. Distribute into 6-8 4-oz ramekin dishes.
  3. For the crumble, pulse in a food processor the butter, flour, sugar and salt until coarse, pea-sized pieces are formed.
  4. Add the egg and the orange zest. Continue pulsing until the dough comes together.
  5. Finally add the oats, pulse a few times, taking care not to pulverize the oats.
  6. Distribute the crumble into the ramekins.
  7. Eat the leftover dough when nobody's looking.
  8. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan into a 360-degree preheated oven, middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Frozen fruit will take a little longer. The crumble is done when you like the color of your crust--don't remove them too early. You want a nice golden brown crust.
  9. Serve with powdered sugar and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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