My parent’s home on Salt Spring Island has a small orchard and is, like much of the island, surrounded by blackberry bushes. The blackberries are perfect for the picking this time of the year and this year, our gravenstein trees are ready to harvest. While the gravensteins aren’t the best for baking with, we keep a supply of apples from our old King apple. (This year for fathers’ day, I got my dad a new one which I have since named B.B. King – these are his favourite and I thought the name was rather clever). The other trees in the orchard are great for cider and should be ready to harvest within the next month.
We have a mechanism which cores and slices the apples as you turn the crank and which gets a lot of use this time of year (apple butter to come). If you are preparing a lot of apples, these are a godsend. To preserve our extra apples, we then freeze the cored and sliced apples for crumbles to come.
This crumble (or crisp as you may wish to call it) is a slightly modified version of Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp recipe, the main modification being blackberries.
Blackberry and King Apple Crumble
3 cups sliced apples (we use king apples for their perfect tartness and texture)
5 cups blackberries
3 tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
1 c. oats
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (fresh – if you want to know if your nutmegs are fresh enough, prick them with a pin and oil ought to ooze out)
2/3 c. butter
1 c. chopped pecans
Preheat the over to 375 F. Fill a greased 9 x 13 inch glass dish with the fruit. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fruit. Mix together the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers. Mix in the pecans and spread this crumb mixture gently over the fruit.
Bake until the top is golden brown, the apples are tender, and the fruit mixture is bubbling (approx. 40 minutes). If the top begins too brown too much before the fruit is cooked, gently lay a piece of parchment over the pan to slow the browning.