Fast Fruit

by convivialist

Although it is mid-July already, in Berlin you might be mistaken and think it is not yet April. Or perhaps that we have skipped summer completely and ended up flat in the middle of October. That is, if not for the bounty of summer fruits. I must admit, I have not quite taken advantage of the strawberries, tart cherries and johannesbeeren that crop up in the markets on a daily basis, so when Paul and I walked away from the Turkish Market down the street on Friday with five boxes of strawberries, I knew something sweet, gooey and baked was in order.

Let’s diverge from the story for a moment and talk about the Turkish Market. For those of you who do not live in Berlin, every Tuesday and Friday there is a sprawling market of produce, Turkish specialties and textiles on the Maybachufer in the Kreuzberg/Neukölln district. It is not exactly known to be the highest quality market in the city – one has numerous tiny bio shops for that – but rather where to get your basic produce in large quantities and on the cheap. Particularly in the late afternoon, venders are notorious for dumping off the end of the day’s fruits and vegetables for a pittance to tourists and locals whose eyes are bigger than their (or their entire household’s) stomachs. Sometimes I have found luck and stocked my entire refrigerator for a week for less than 10 euros, but more often than not, the quality of this “discount” food is sub-par and simply does not last more than a day or two.

Therefore, when we scored five boxes of strawberries for 2 euros, we left the market feeling slightly queasy with the half mushed boxes that would have been simply thrown away if not for our coins. A step below dumpster diving, I thought. It is quite the opposite feeling you get when returning from a farmers market on a sunny Saturday morning with a small basket of perfect, tiny local berries, that you paid dearly for, but that will be delicately savored. To be honest, this is the way I would like to eat all the time, but in this instance I had to reconsider: when life gives you half-moldy lemons, cut off the rotted parts and make a half batch of lemonade.

This crumble can be made quickly and easily with any summer fruit that you have at home. It requires simply chopping it up, topping with an oat-streusel mixture and popping in the over for a half hour. Effortless but delicious. Whether you have a box of half-mushy raspberries in the bottom of the refrigerator or gorgeous hand picked organic cherries, the crumble is a remedy for the “where-is-summer ?” blues.

Summer fruit crumble- recipe

3 cups summer berries or chopped stone fruit (or a mix)

½ cups (45 grams) whole oats

½ cup (62.5 grams) flour

1/3 cup (76 grams) cold butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup (65 grams) dark brown sugar

zest of one small lemon

½ tsp ground cinnamon

pinch salt

  1. Pour the berries and/or chopped fruit into the bottom of a lightly buttered 8” round or square ceramic or pyrex pie dish.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or knives until evenly crumbly.
  3. Spread the crumble batter over the fruit.
  4. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until browned on the top.
  5. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream for dessert or over vanilla yogurt for breakfast