Crumble is not necessarily the first dessert that comes to mind in late spring. Although I adore it, when it is warm(er) outside it is normally a refreshing cold dessert or fresh fruit that your taste buds are craving. These bars solve that problem and make crumble, not only a warm weather friendly dessert, but also portable! Sounds pretty good to me.
These strawberry and blackberry crumble bars have everything that is good about a crumble – crunchy topping, hearty oats, tart fruit – and shove it all atop a chewy, butter shortbread base. The biscuit base is earning its keep, it bring a lot to the table, so to speak. Firstly it holds everything together making these perfectly portable and a certain hit at picnics. Secondly, and to be honest this part was a bit of a surprise to me, the biscuit is texture perfection. The edges are crisp, as you would expect, but the centre absorbs some of the fruit juices meaning it bakes up slightly chewy. Wonderful!
This recipe could be adapted all throughout the year too, to reflect whatever fruit is on hand. Even in the summer there are a multitude of different fruits that would work really well. Peaches, nectarines or apricots would turn soft and sweet, even if they are a little under-ripe the heat will sort them right out. You would also substitute any other berries, or add some rhubarb. Apple in the autumn? Mincemeat at Christmas? This is a hardworking recipe, definitely a keeper!
The base and the crumble topping are made up from the same recipe, apart from the addition of oats, so this is a really simple bar to make.
Letting the fruit sit in the sugar, lemon and cornflour helps draw out the juices and the flavours develop.
Press the in the base with your fingers. Dust them in a little flour if you find them sticking.
You know that crumble topping is gonna be good once it’s baked.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist having one.
- 200g chopped strawberries and blackberries
- 50g caster sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 125g cold unsalted butter
- 150g plain flour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 50g (1/2 cup) oats (for the crumble)
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (170 degrees C fan). Line a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) baking tin with greaseproof paper, set aside.
- Add the fruit, sugar, lemon zest, juice and cornflour into a small bowl and stir until combined and the fruit is evenly coated. Set aside.
- Add all of the base ingredients, apart from the oats, in to a large bowl. Using a fork, incorporate the butter in to the dry ingredients - you can use your hands if that is easier. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and place in to a separate bowl.
- Use your hands to bring together the original mixture, until it starts to hold together in clumps. Tip this in to the prepared baking tin and press into an even layer with your fingers.
- Add the oats to the retained base mixture and rub in to the mixture with your fingers. Squeeze some of the mixture together in your hands so you have some larger pieces of crumble topping, then set aside.
- Spread the fruit mixture in an even layer over the base then sprinkle over the crumble topping. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and slices in to nine squares.