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Recipes and Stories

Blueberry Crumble

Sunday Dinner Blueberry Crumble (Photo by Timothy Hall)
Among my favorite and most cherished memories from childhood are those big, leisurely Sunday dinners that we had after church, when we actually ate in the dining room and used the good china and silver.

There were never fewer than three side dishes and always a dessert (most often banana pudding)--which marked it as a special occasion at my mother's table, since a sweet at the meal's end was not a given in our household.

Now that I am the one who gets up early on the the "Day of Rest" and does the cooking, I appreciate more the effort that my mother put into making it seem leisurely. However, it remains among my favorite meals, both to make and to eat.

Whether it's the traditional Southern roast and plethora of sides from my childhood or a simple frittata with hash browns, the challenge, for me, is that obligatory dessert at the end. Sweets are just not my thing.

Happily, blueberries are in season and over this past holiday weekend, there happened to be a couple of pints on hand. Sunday's dessert was a snap to make, because nothing is simpler, or better, than a blueberry crumble, and this one may well have been the best I've ever made.

For the fans of my Facebook page, who were drawn in by Timothy Hall's handsome picture, here's how to make one of your own.

Blueberry Crumble

Serves 6 to 8
3 pints blueberries
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon
7 ounces (about 1½ cups) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 ounces (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375° F. Wash, drain, and pick over the berries to remove any stems and blemished fruit. Put it in a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl and add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Grate in the zest from the lemon. Toss well, taste a berry, and if they are not very tart, halve the lemon and add a squeeze of lemon juice, as needed.

2. Lightly butter a shallow 2 quart casserole and pour in the fruit. Wash and dry the mixing bowl, put in the flour and brown sugar, and toss until well mixed. Add the butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles course meal, with lumps no bigger than very small peas. Sprinkle it over the fruit.

3. Bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbly in the center, about 45 minutes.
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