Tuesday, August 5, 2008

crumble-licious and delicious

Warning: there are an obnoxious amount of raspberry pictures here. Okay, okay, so maybe I went a little overboard...but how many times in your life do you have the chance to go raspberry picking?! Not many. :)

So this raspberry excursion was a mini-field trip for us and our Californian friends. And after an afternoon spent in the patch, it is now oh-so-clear as to why raspberries are oh-so-expensive at your local Meijer. They are just so much more complicated to pick than, say, apples. First of all, they grow on these bushes that are low to the ground. So here you are, kneeling down in the dirt (or mud, if you're lucky), searching and searching for a glimpse of red among these thorny-ish bushes. And then there's the delicate-ness of these ruby red gems. Pluck them too roughly off of their vine and you end up with raspberry mush. Yes...raspberries are a high-maintenance fruit.

And how can we forget about our friend the Japanese beetle?! These little buggers like to live among the raspberry patch, and they actually look really cute! Or at least...I thought they did. :) But anyway, these guys eat away at the raspberry plants, so they are left to be sprayed with some sort of pesticide. :( Actually, we had to reschedule our raspberry date to Tuesday since the plants had to unexpectedly be sprayed on Monday...when the beetles decided to attack. Obviously, this little guy survived The Spray. :)
So we were conveniently given cute little baskets to pick our berries in, and here's the spread that I ended up with. Not a bad-looking bunch, huh? And they were probably the most beautiful color of red I've ever seen.

Oooh...pretty. :)

After our picking-adventure, our group headed to the sketchy grey concrete building to have our baskets weighed and paid for. And...eeeep...$14 later, we walked out with our freshly-harvested raspberries.

Okay, so let the fun begin...Operation: Raspberry Pie. I debated for awhile on what to make out of our raspberries. My mom was the one who requested pie. Not being a huge fan of pie, I suggested some sort of raspberry crumble instead. The madre didn't seem to by it, so away I went looking up pie recipes on allrecipes.com. Basically, this pie that I came up with is a combination of two different recipes...so my mom could have her pie, and I could have my crumble and eat it, too. :) Next time, though, if there is a next time for raspberry pie-making, I would really like to try making a ginormusly tall meringue to bake on top instead of crumble. That would look really pretty, no?

So this recipe was really easy to make...the crumble mixture was your basic crumble, complete with butter, oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and then the raspberries were mixed happily with (more) sugar, lemon juice, a little bit of flour for thickening, and cinnamon...which actually surprised me. Cinnamon and raspberries did not seem to be a likely combination, but it ended up tasting super good.

Siiigh...now, I am a huge fan of crumble topping. Basically, it makes me think I'm eating an oatmeal cookie on top of my pie, which never could be a bad thing, right? It's just so so good. And while I don't actively eat pie as I do, say, cake, if there's crumble on top...then I just may be persuaded. :)

And now for the finished product...

Whoaaa good!!! The only tricky thing about this pie is that is came out slightly runny when I cut the first slice, thanks to those amazingly juicy berries. :) But time spent in the fridge, or even the freezer, could easily fix this problem.

And then...what to do with those leftover fresh-picked berries? All you do is place them (unwashed!) on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, and then freeze. And when the time comes around that you're craving berries again, take them out, rinse, dry, and eat!

Raspberry Crumble Pie
Altered from "Raspberry Pie III" and "Raspberry Peach Crumble" from allrecipes.com

1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch single crust pie (I used a premade crust, but this would be so much better by making your own)
4 cups raspberries, rinsed and dried
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

In small bowl, mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. With pastry cutter, cut in butter until resembles small crumbs. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together the raspberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt until raspberries are well covered. Be sure not to mix to much, or else the raspberries will get crushed! :(

Pour into 9-inch pastry shell. Top raspberries with crumble mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! That pie looks fantastic! Last time I picked Raspberries, we just washed then off and ate them with a little sugar. Now I am inspired to get more creative the next time I get the chance to pick my own fruit. Since I live in Los Angeles, perhaps I'll just have to buy the berries at the market, with a new appreciation for the retail price, and make that pie anyway. Sue