Play with Fruit

Why re­serve the sea­son’s best pro­duce for cob­blers and pies?

SAVEUR - - Range -

be­neath the streusel, Ger­man crumb cakes of­ten have a layer of col­or­ful fruit. “[It] can vary in dif­fer­ent sea­sons,” Schuh­beck says, not­ing that ap­ples, cher­ries, apri­cots, and prunes are pop­u­lar. Ac­cord­ing to Ber­an­baum, adding fruit spar­ingly is key—a lit­tle moist­ens the cake, but too much causes sog­gi­ness. (She also sug­gests cut­ting larger fruits thick enough to re­tain a lit­tle bite.)

At 20th Cen­tury Cafe, Polzine adds nuts to the crumb to com­ple­ment the fruits. “Wal­nuts are so good with ap­ple,” she says. “Or black wal­nuts with huck­le­ber­ries, pis­ta­chios with apri­cots—just pair things you like.” Sea­son the fruit sep­a­rately, toss­ing with sugar, spices, or salt as needed.

Cran­berry Crumb Cake with Al­monds and Oats

SERVES 12 Ac­tive: 1 hr. To­tal: 2 hr. 10 min. (plus cool­ing)

Fresh cran­ber­ries ten­der­ize in the oven, pro­vid­ing a tart, jammy layer be­neath the sweet crumb. You can swap them for halved fresh or frozen, de­frosted, and drained cher­ries; or sautéed and then drained chopped ap­ples or pears. Any chopped nut can work in place of the al­monds.

FOR THE CRUMB: 2 cups all-pur­pose flour (245 g) ¾ cup rolled oats (75 g) 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (200 g) ¼ cup cane sugar (48 g) 2 tsp. ground cin­na­mon 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (2¼ sticks or 9 oz.) un­salted but­ter, cut into cubes, then left out to soften slightly ⅔ cup sliced al­monds

FOR THE CAKE: 2 ¼ cups all-pur­pose flour (275 g) ½ tsp. bak­ing pow­der ½ tsp. bak­ing soda ¾ tsp. kosher salt ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. (1¾ sticks) un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus more for greas­ing 1½ cups (290 g) plus 1 Tbsp. cane sugar, di­vided 3 large eggs 1 tsp. plus ½ tsp. pure vanilla ex­tract, di­vided 1 tsp. pure al­mond ex­tract 1 cup full-fat sour cream 10 oz. fresh or thawed frozen cran­ber­ries (about 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp.), drained well in a strainer

FOR THE GLAZE: 1 cup pow­dered sugar 1 tsp. fresh le­mon juice Pinch of salt 1 Make the crumb: In a large bowl, add the flour, oats, both sug­ars, cin­na­mon, and salt; stir. Add the but­ter; mix it in with your fin­gers and by squeez­ing the mix­ture with your palms un­til sat­u­rated and chunky, 3–4 min­utes. Re­frig­er­ate un­til firm, at least 25 min­utes, or un­til ready to bake the cake.

2 Mix the cake: In a large bowl, add the flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, and salt; stir briefly to com­bine. In the bowl of a stand­ing mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, beat the but­ter and 1½ cups sugar at medium-high speed, scrap­ing down the bowl as needed, un­til light and fluffy, about 3 min­utes. Add the eggs, 1 tea­spoon vanilla, and the al­mond ex­tract, and beat at medium-low speed, scrap­ing down the bowl as needed, un­til in­cor­po­rated. With the mixer on low, al­ter­nate adding the flour mix­ture (in three batches) and the sour cream (in two batches), be­gin­ning and end­ing with the flour mix­ture, and beat­ing un­til just in­cor­po­rated.

3 Pre­heat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the cen­ter. Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan or bak­ing dish with but­ter. Add the bat­ter, and use an off­set spat­ula to spread it evenly into a thin layer, fill­ing the cor­ners.

4 In a medium bowl, stir the drained cran­ber­ries, re­main­ing 1 ta­ble­spoon sugar, and re­main­ing ½ tea­spoon vanilla.

5 Re­trieve the crumb top­ping. Add the al­monds, and mix briefly with your hands to com­bine.

6 Sprin­kle the cran­ber­ries evenly over the bat­ter, leav­ing be­hind any mois­ture. Crum­ble the top­ping evenly over the fruit in peb­ble-size pieces. Bake un­til the crumbs are lightly browned and a cake tester in­serted into the cen­ter comes out mostly clean, about 1 hour 10 min­utes. Re­move and let cool com­pletely.

7 Make the glaze: In a small bowl, com­bine the pow­dered sugar, 1 ta­ble­spoon wa­ter, the le­mon juice, and salt; stir well un­til smooth. Driz­zle on the cake to taste, then slice and serve.

Rein­vent the clas­sic crumb by adding oats, nuts, spices, or choco­late chips, or by driz­zling on a sim­ple glaze.

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