Easy Berry Crisp/Crumble/Cobbler-Type Thingy with Cereal Streusel Topping

It was hot enough to inflate the playpool for Izz and her buds today, so between the ice cream on top and berries being in season, transferring this recipe over to the new blog today seemed like the thing to do.

If you've been with me long enough, you know that I am admittedly not much of a baker. And even for a non-baker like me, to call a crisp/crumble/cobbler type thingy "easy" is almost redundant.

This is also admittedly not the best crisp/crumble/cobbler type thingy recipe out there. But the point is that even if it isn't, and if you've never tried making one, you'll probably be so pleasantly surprised at how easy, adaptable, and yummy this oven hack's recipe turns out that you'll add these thingies to your regular repertoire and start searching epicurious or allrecipes for even better ones.

The streusel topping can be made and refrigerated up to a week in advance.

Easy Berry Crisp/Crumble/Cobbler Type Thingy with Cereal Streusel Topping
Serves 4 to 6 with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream on top

So the general rule to these things is that there's some fruit filling, and there's some kind of streusel topping, and the ratio of one to the other is up to you. I'm a roughly 60/40 fruit/topping type gal, which works out to about a 2-inch layer of fruit to a roughly 2/3-inch layer of topping (the fruit will reduce and thicken a bit).

If you're in a real hurry, you could even go the Aunt Sandy route, buy a can of pie filling, and mix it with half fresh or frozen berries. A little pinch of salt mixed in helps to round out the flavors and soften the saccharin sweetness of canned pie filling.

Streusel topping:

- 1 cup cereal with flakes (if it's got dried fruits and nuts, even better!) Granola and muesli work, too.
- 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 3/4 cups packed brown sugar (light or dark ok)
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on how much you like that sweet-salty contrast in your desserts, but you do want at least a good pinch of salt to give the flavors depth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Berry filling:

- 1.5 to 2 pounds berries, washed and drained (most berries - bluberries, raspberries, blackberries, and the like - can be left whole, but strawberries should be hulled and halved or quartered depending on their size)
- 1.5 to 2 Tablespoons flour or corn starch
- 1 to 3 Tablespoons sugar, depending on how tart your berries are and how sweet you want your filling
- a pinch of salt

- 1 Tablespoon water for each 1/2 pound of berries

1) In a large mixing bowl, throw in all the streusel topping ingredients, making sure to distribute the salt and cinnamon as evenly as you can across the mixture. Leaving the cereal off to one side, use your fingers in a milking motion to incorporate the butter, brown sugar and flour together until you have pea-sized clumps.

2) Add the cereal in and gently massage to evenly incorporate it throughout the butter/sugar/flour paste. Put in a container and refrigerate for at least 20 to 25 minutes to allow the butter to harden again before baking. If you're going to bake fairly immediately, put the streusel mixture in the freezer for a good 10 to 15 minutes before baking.


3) Preheat the oven to 400F (This usually takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the oven).

4) Prepare the berries by gently tossing them in a large bowl with the flour or corn starch and sugar to evenly distribute the flour and sugar and to coat each berry thoroughly.

5) Pour the berry mixture into a baking dish that is at least large enough in surface area to allow you to spread the berries in a roughly 2-inch layer. Then spoon the appropriate amount of water over the top of the fruit mixture. The reason I suggest the water be added after the fruit is mixed with the flour or starch and sugar is to avoid too much clumping.


6) Top the berries with a roughly 2/3-inch layer of streusel topping and bake for roughly 25 minutes, or until the streusel topping is baked through to a dark golden brown.

Not to worry if your baking dish is so large that the berries would spread out more thinly. Just gather them toward the center to make a roughly 2-inch thick mound. It's called a crumble. How precise could it be, right? :D

7) Cool for 10 minutes or so and serve a heaping scoopful with a slightly less heaping scoopful of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Enjoy. :)


P.S. The leftovers go great with your morning yogurt.



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