You remember that post I made last week about Peanut Butter Cookies, and how the 'dough' reminded me of a crumble topping? Well, I'm following up on my idea to make a fruit crumble with a peanut butter topping. Simple enough for me to make while sick, and comfort-foody enough to make me feel a bit better.
Now, I don't mean to spoil the ending for you, but it was pretty amazing.
There it is, just out of the oven - look at all those hot, bubbly, overflowing juices! In the haze of my illness, I count the foresight to put a baking sheet under the ramekin before putting it in the oven as one of my most brilliant ideas ever.
I used a 50/50 mix of fresh raspberries and strawberries, because either of those would be my first go-to's for a classic PB&J sandwich.
Okay, tangent with me for a moment, here... (and yes, I'm using 'tangent' as a verb. You got a problem with that?)
In this instance, when I say 'fresh' berries, I mean 'not frozen in a bag' berries - not that I went and picked them myself. I've been noticing, however, the extent to which the word 'fresh' has been abused. It's as though all it ever means is 'not frozen', and sometimes it doesn't even mean that - I keep seeing pre-packed and preservative-packed things labeled as 'fresh'. It reminds me of skepticisms I had several years ago about foods being labeled 'organic', and how the standards seemed so low that nearly anyone could slap on the label 'organic' and sell their product for double the price. I digress.
But this is different... it isn't that we're trusting food labels, because I hope we're all level-headed enough to see past the big letters that say 'Made With Real Cheese' down to the word just below it: 'flavor'; but this... this is not just the misuse of a word for the purposes of advertising, this is the loss of a word! The word 'fresh' has died, lost it's original meaning, and now resembles something more like 'tasty' or 'good' in the contexts it's used in.
Okay, clearly this has been eating at me for awhile, so here's the thing that pushed me over the edge: The other day I was driving, listening to the radio, when this add comes on for Wendy's. It's boasting about their new 'wildberry frosties', and has what sounds like blond, scantily-clad teenage girls on a beach proclaiming how good the frosties are (did I mention this was on the radio? I'm just saying... this is what it sounded like). Then one of the girls says this: "It really tastes fresh, you can definitely tell the berries were just hand-picked," ... *cringe* This is where I wonder if the girl has ever tasted a hand-picked berry in her life, and where the logical part of me chimes in with unwavering certainty that Wendy's uses frozen berries. I know it's just an actress, and it's advertising, and normally I'm pretty okay with lies in marketing, but when it's so clear to me it hurts... it's not good advertising anymore! I like Wendy's (well, as far as fast food chains go), but this makes me like them a little less. Ouch.
Alright, that is a very long rant for a topic that probably doesn't deserve so many words, but there you have it. That's how I feel. I'm using the word 'fresh', and I'm putting a disclaimer that what I mean is 'not frozen'.
On a side note, the berries were quite tasty.
Back to the cobbler!
Mmm! Smells like peanut butter and jelly!
So here's what I did:
First I put the 'not frozen' berries in my ramekin (I specifically used a shallow one so that I could have a more PB&J like ratio of crumb to berries in each spoonful. This is serious business), and sprinkled over about a TBSP of sugar. I tossed it together a bit and let it sit to macerate.
On to the crumble:
I used the peanut butter cookie recipe as a baseline, only halved (which still turned out to be about twice as much as I needed - the ramekin was small, though. All the amounts will vary depending on the size of your dish).
Half a cup of peanut butter (natural, creamy)
1/4 cup brown sugar (dark)
2 TBSP granulated sugar (I did lesson the sugar from the amount used in the cookies, here, but I would definitely use even less next time - too sweet)
1 small egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda (I feel like this really helped make that crumbly texture)
1/2 cup finely chopped up roasted peanuts (to help dry it up a bit and add some texture)
When chopping up the peanuts you have a few options.
A. There's the fun (and therapeutic) way, where you put the peanuts in a zip-top bag, get all the air out (or else it'll burst) and then thwack it with a flat-bottomed pot or pan a few times.
B. Or there's the boring way, where you pulse it in the food processor a few times.
C. Then there's the normal person way, where you pour them onto a cutting board and chop to the desired consistency. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling well enough to do option A, so settled for C.
I sprinkled a hefty helping of crumble topping to the fruit, then added some more. The fruit wasn't visible when I was finished (again, I was going for a more classic ratio of peanut butter to 'jelly').
Remembering how quickly the cookies baked, I covered the whole thing with aluminum foil before inserting (on a baking sheet to catch the drips) into a 350f. oven, so the top wouldn't burn.
I let it go for maybe 20 minutes, then removed the aluminum foil (refer back to the bubbly goodness pictured earlier) and baked for another 15 or so.
Smells good. Looks good. But something's missing...
NOW we're talking!
Aha! What every good PB&J needs: a cool glass of milk! You thinking what I'm thinking?
NOW we're talking!
Now, I know I said it in the first paragraph, but it bears repeating: this was pretty frickin' awesome. If I made it again I'd use significantly less sugar, and more chopped peanuts to keep the texture.
You could make it with pretty much any fruit you like, too - just think what jam or jelly you'd go for on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.