The first time I visited a farmers market was in 2007. Our family had gone through big changes in the six months prior, having bought a house and then had our first child. I remember toting the baby in my Beco, squinting against the Texas December sun, and being disappointed that there was pretty much only greens on the farmers’ tables. Greens that, aside from lettuce, I was completely unfamiliar with. I think we went home with a head of broccoli and some eggs, but I vowed to return in a better month.
I had been prompted on this trip by reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which Barbara Kingsolver and her family spend a year eating only local food. I’m not sure how I came upon the book, other than being a fan of her other work, but I was completely enchanted with the romantic picture of living off the land. With the addition of the baby, I was determined to find better solutions to our family’s food chain, and this site morphed from random ramblings and a log of what we ate to a more developed recipe blog.
Looking back I was a bit insufferable when it came to certain aspects of food, and as my kids have gotten older, I’ve realized there’s so much more involved in eating than just proclaiming local is best. After all, if I stuck with local, I would hardly ever get to eat my beloved raspberries.
During my insufferable time, I discovered Texas blackberries. Growing up “blackberries” were actually black raspberries, and for a few years I was quite disappointed by the plump, tart berries that grow here. I longed for the fruit of my childhood, but instead was presented with blackberries the size of my thumb, and peaches whose fuzz made my lips tingle.
Oddly, it took a trip back north a few years ago to embrace the blackberry. Wandering the market in Madison, I snagged fresh-picked raspberries and we devoured them on the capital lawn, languidly stretched out on the grass. The best of summer. That memory went into my pocket, and I realized by shunning Texas blackberries I was missing out on eating off the bramble, staining my fingers with purple, and showing my kids how lovely summer can be.
This blackberry basil crumble is based on the version in Kingsolver’s book. The first time I made it, back in 2008, I was skeptical about the inclusion of basil, but it freshens up the dish, making it more than just a mouthful of sweet. The addition of almonds adds a subtle mellowness, and if you serve it with vanilla ice cream, it might just be the best late-summer dessert ever.
Note: You can make this gluten-free by swapping out the flour for your favorite GF blend.
Blackberry Basil Crumble
- 2 pints blackberries washed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup basil leaves not packed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly butter a 1-quart casserole dish.
Chop basil leaves and stir with blackberries and honey.
In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely chopped. Add flour, salt, and brown sugar and pulse a few times to mix.
Cut butter into chunks and pulse in until mixture forms crumbles, some large and some small. You can add more butter if it isn't crumbling properly.
Pour blackberry mixture into casserole dish and scatter crumble over the top. (You might have extra crumble, depending on the depth of your dish. You can store extra in the fridge and use it on coffee cake or muffins.)
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crumble is browned. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
More blackberry recipes you might like:
Blackberry Basil Jam – Stetted
Blackberry Basil Scones – Stetted
Blackberry Bon Bons – Dessert for Two
Blackberry Bramble – Bluebonnet Baker
Blackberry-Sage Lemonade – The Kitchen Prep
For more sweet inspiration, check out my Recipes from Stetted board on Pinterest!
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