Dessert

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble | Homesick Texan

When I was a kid, my mom used to make a dessert that combined canned pie filling, cake mix, and a stick of butter into something of a quick cobbler. The combination of the three made for a sweet, salty, and rich dessert that I would be devour by the pan. Often, I’ve tried to approximate this by using fresh ingredients, but I never could get it quite right.

Recently, I attempted to make a batch of blueberry bars, and the recipe turned out to be a disaster, at least structurally. The base was too crumbly and the filling too gooey for them to be handheld and portable. To eat it, you needed a spoon. That said, the flavor was still excellent, and as I tucked into a big bowl of the buttery cornmeal crumble combined with juicy blueberries livened up with lime juice and vanilla, I deemed the dessert a success.

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble | Homesick Texan

As I worked my way through the dish, however, I also realized how much it reminded me of that treat my mom used to make. It never fails to amaze me how life turns out when you’re making other plans. And so, the foundation of this recipe may not have worked as a cookie, but as a fruit-and-pastry dessert made for bowls, ice cream, and spoons, the recipe was exactly as it should be.

So, what should I call it, I wondered? The combination of juicy berries livened up with lime juice along with a buttery cornmeal pastry wasn’t exactly a pie, as the topping was too tender to hold together the juicy berries in a contained slice. Though to label it a cobbler also seemed a bit off, as well, since mine tend to skew toward a melding of biscuits with fruit, and this cornmeal dough was more tight then loose.

Then I stumbled upon the family of desserts known as crumbles. Like a crisp, which is a fruit dessert capped with a nut and oat crust, a crumble’s topping is also a short pastry though the oats and nuts are missing and instead it’s made with flours and butter. And so, blueberry lime cornmeal crumble was deemed the new name.

Though no matter what you call it, if you have a bounty of blueberries this is a simple dessert you will want to prepare and share. Unlike pie, which requires rolling out a dough, this crumble has you pat the dough into a pan or skillet before topping with fresh berries tossed with lime juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch, along with more pastry. As for the cornmeal dough, it’s also a cinch as it’s butter, sugar, lime juice and zest, flour, and cornmeal mixed together until smooth. Working with it is not difficult at all.

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble | Homesick Texan

While I haven’t given up on making a from-scratch version of my mom’s dessert, this blueberry lime cornmeal crumble is now going into heavy rotation. Blueberries are at their peak now but you could also make this with frozen berries, too, or other fruit such as peaches, raspberries, or cherries, as well.

Besides the flavor, however, what I love most about this dessert is how effortless it is to throw together. Tangy, tender, crumbly, and sweet, this crumble is a cinch to prepare and I know it’ll be a hit at your next summertime gathering.

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble | Homesick Texan
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Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain

Ingredients

For the crumble:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • tablespoons  cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • teaspoon lime zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9x9 baking pan.

     

  2. To make the dough, cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth then add the vanilla, lime juice, and zest until well blended. Stir in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and blend until smooth.


  3. Take half the dough and evenly pat it into the skillet. Toss the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, lime juice, and zest then place in the skillet. Take the remaining half of the topping and patting it into flat pieces place it over the berries leaving some of the berries exposed. (If you were ambitious, you could also roll out this top portion and cut into shapes, such as stars.)


  4. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and the topping is lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. 

  1. I never knew the difference between crisps and crumbles, I always thought the names were interchangeable! Whoops! This looks divine and perfect for Wednesday. Your mom’s dessert sounds really familiar, I think my mom made something really similar but with peaches… I’ll have to ask her now 🙂

    • Lisa Fain

      Julie–I thought they were interchangeable, too, until I did the research. And yes, I’m definitely making it for the Fourth!

  2. James Sutherland

    That looks delicious! I do love a nice hot crumble, either with custard or ice cream.

  3. hi Lisa, would you share your Mom’s quick cobbler dessert? I’d try it with 1/2 filling, 1/2 fresh berries 🙂

  4. Sooo. I am dumb and used medium ground cornmeal (b/c it was what I had on hand). Don’t do this. It makes it crunchy and sandy-like. Still edible but a bummer. Most everyone knows this probably already but for dummies like me make sure to use finely ground cornmeal.

    • Lisa Fain

      Andy–Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry it was too sandy for you and I’ll update the recipe.

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