WELL, this is embarrassing. Not only have I fallen off the blog-wagon, but I’ve sustained a year-long tumble. Whoops?
I’ve been thinking about gardens a lot lately, and vast cloud-filled skies. I spent last summer in Texas, writing about partnerships, community, raspas, and the small laughs people share in tense moments. A lot of this writing was done in the sunniest part of a kitchen, someone else clattering around the island to make peanut stew, or cookies, or carrot cake. On my days to cook, there’d be beer bread, chili, sweet lentil soup, flat biscuits. My mornings were spent watching women work together, my afternoons contemplating the skies and the flat farmlands, the evenings filled with laughter and talk and writing. It was wholesome, and filling; it was a food of a different kind, a sustenance I hadn’t known to miss. Now back in New York, I’ve craved that: the ease of people learning each other, teaching each other, watching their work grow together. New York, in many ways, is like the chorus of Ray LaMontagne’s Jolene, which is one of the loveliest songs I know; but it’s a lonely, mournful song. It remembers, it yearns, but it isn’t sure it can ever reach back far enough to find peace.
Anyway. D sent me a food blog this morning and, somewhere in the middle of a horrible anthro reading and a nausea-inducing statistics problem set, I decided that what I needed tonight was something lush and warm and sweet and filled with blueberries.
The thing about crumbles is that they’re meant to feed the soul, not the eyes. They don’t care about their appearance. They don’t care that they’re messy, that they’re a bit runny, that last night’s mascara is still clinging to their lashes or that they have flour dappled across their wrists. They don’t care, because they’re comfortable just as they are. They’ve got nobody to impress, nobody to answer to. They’re completely uncomplicated & completely sure of themselves & completely charming. I think, if I were a dessert, I’d aspire to be a crumble.
So, from this I got to this. I made very few changes, and ended up with a plateful of something that was very, very close to what I’ve been needing. This was almost, almost a taste of home.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp cold butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the filling
- 6 large peaches
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp applesauce
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease your baking dish.
Peel the peaches by cutting an X at both ends and then dropping them into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Scoop them out, rinse with cold water, gently peel off the skin. Slice them, pit them, set them aside.
For the topping, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Blend in the cold butter (I used my hands, but knives or a pastry blender would be fine) until the dough gets crumbly. Add in the heavy cream; stir to mix everything into a dough. It’s supposed to be sticky.
In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling. Pour into the baking dish. Spoon the topping over the fruit mixture; it should look a little rustic and half-dressed, but you can try to spread out the dough a little bit if you like your crumbles more fully covered.
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling.