No Recipe Crumble

I’m about to break the cardinal rule of baking:

I’m not using any measurements.

I’m freeing myself of scales, of teaspoons, of crying and tossing dough in the trash can.

And I’m freeing you of that, too.

Here is a seasonal crumble recipe that uses no leavening agents. It doesn’t need to be kneaded to elasticity. There is no danger of it falling, and if it cracks while it bakes, it’s just that more delicious.

I want you to have a glass of wine, read these instructions, have another glass of wine, then make this dish. It seems scary, but you can do it!

No Recipe Crumble

2013-08-06 pix2 Ingredients:

A bunch of fruit – maybe a pound. (I used figs, peaches, and plums – feel free to go for nectarines, cherries, and anything else that will cook quickly)

1 stick of butter, more or less

enough flour (maybe 3/4 cup)

enough sugar (maybe 1 cup)

handful of crushed nuts (optional) (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts…whatever you have around)

vanilla…you know how much

pix 082 1. Cut the fruit in thirds or quarters…just big, rough slices. I just give it a rinse then never even peel any of it. It will all caramelize and turn soft and sweet anyway.
pix 085 2. Toss the fruit, more sugar than you think you need, and just a smidge of cornstarch in a souffle or baking dish. You really don’t need  a lot of cornstarch – just a tiny bit will thicken up the juices nicely. On the other had, you want a ton of sugar.  pix 089 3. Now for the scary part – the crumble. You are going to make a dough without a recipe. Breathe deep, you can do this. Just start with half a stick of butter, a bit of flour 0 maybe 1/3 of a cup – and more sugar than you think you need. Start mashing it with your fingers. The butter should come together with the flour in large, translucent-ish clumps. It should form a sticky, semi-solid dough. There will be some loose flour and sugar at the bottom of your bowl – that’s okay! Add more butter as you see fit – you will need a lot of it. But you don’t want clumps of just butter. You want buttery, floury, sugary knobs.   pix 091 Like this. When it looks like this, toss in some vanilla and nut, and mash some more.  pix 092 4. Top the fruit with the dough and top with a little more sugar if you are feeding incurable sweet toothed-folk.  pix 120 5. Bake for half an hour at 350F, or until the top is browned and the juices are bubbling up through the crust.  pix 121 6. Serve with fresh ice cream.

It’s crumbly. It’s bubbly. It’s thick with fruity juices and topped with a buttery, sweet, cookie-like topping. It isn’t tough or gummy. It’s as good as something you would get from a recipe…but it’s better. Because you didn’t need a recipe. So throw away those measuring cups! Laugh in the face of recipes! Never buy baking powder again!

Okay, well, I didn’t mean that last part – don’t go crazy now.

But, really…throw caution to the wind. Make this recipe.

pix 123 If you really wanna be crazy, serve it with straight up cream, like I prefer.

Breaking the rules is awesome.