Our special springtime family tradition is to go strawberry picking. We love it. 🙂 This year, our favorite berry picking farm limited the quantity each person could pick because a cold snap in the early spring damaged a lot of their plants. I had to go pick on two separate occasions!
There is always a lot of pressure to put our pickings to good use. Along with my mandatory strawberry jam and pancakes, I also made strawberry muffins and this amazing dessert – my new addition this year. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Gerard Craft. I made half of the recipe and modified the baking time accordingly. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream. It could also be a very special breakfast. Fabulous!!
Yield: Serves 6
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (4 cups)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/4 tablespoons of water
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- pinch of coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
For the Cake:
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons, unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 large eggs (It’s a little tricky!)
- 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- vanilla ice cream, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
- In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds and let stand until the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes.
- Pour the fruit filling into a 8×8-inch pan (9-by-13-inch if doubling the recipe) glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, mix all of the Crumb Topping ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingers until a coarse meal forms; press into small clumps. (I set this mixture aside in the refrigerator.)
- To Make the Cake Batter: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Spoon the batter over the fruit filling, spreading it to the edge. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (I baked it for 45 minutes for the proportions in the recipe and with the recipe doubled and baked in an enameled cast iron baking dish.)
- Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve the crumb cake warm or at room temperature.
Make Ahead: The crumb cake can be refrigerated overnight. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The fruit filling can also be made with a combination of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
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