The first local strawberries arrived in the farmers market (!!!) and I can’t buy them fast enough. In less than a week we’ve devoured two big flats of the juiciest, stain-your-fingers, ruby red berry beauties. Waiting for the season to kick off has been tortuous. In North Carolina last year – when I was also feeding my berry addiction with weekly flats of fresh-picked strawberries at the farm stand down the road – strawberry season was already coming to an end by June.
The girls behind the counter would often ask me if I was making jam. Nope. Well, a few times. I just really love strawberries. Make that, all berries, and if you’re a regular reader then you probably already guessed that. Fresh and eaten by the handful, or baked into sweet and simple fruit desserts, like these strawberry oat crumbles, I just can’t get enough. The many berry-centric recipes on this site represent restraint, believe it or not, lest you all mutiny in the face of my berry obsession.
Crumbles and crisps are my go-to Summer dessert. There’s really no more perfect way to end a meal than with sweet, peak-season fruit – cherries and strawberries at the moment – baked until bubbly under a layer of buttery, crispy oat goodness. They’re foolproof, endlessly adaptable and always crowd pleasing.
Most of the time I don’t even use a recipe, but simply fill a baking dish – or a few individual ramekins – with ripe berries and fruit, tossed with a bit of sugar and some lemon juice if I have one on hand, sprinkle on enough crumble topping to cover, and bake until the juices bubble up over the edges. A dusting of confectioners sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream is nearly mandatory, and if the weather is nice where you are, these taste even better al fresco.