Blueberry cornmeal lime crumble DSC 4741

Blueberry lime cornmeal crumble

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.
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5 from 4 votes

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

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9x9 baking pan.
     
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and the topping is lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. 

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19 Comments

  1. This was delicious–perfect to use the fresh blueberries here in my NC back yard right now. My mom, too, made the cake mix/fruit pie filling recipe, and apple crumble is my emergency dessert for guests since I always have apples handy. My freezer is also stocked with at least a couple of varieties of affordable frozen fruit–I pick up 12-16 oz packages on sale for between $2 and $3, so I plan to keep this recipe in my rotation even after my blueberries are gone.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Janet–I’m so glad you enjoyed the muffins!

  2. I made this today. In fact, I’m eating it as I type this comment. It’s delicious, as are all of your recipes. I’m thinking maybe it could use a pinch of cinnamon in the crust? Anyways, it’s a great way to use up some of the blueberries from our bushes. I always have more than I know what to do with. I’ve made blueberry jam in the past, but I still have jam from last year. So, I’m just trying to find new, and interesting ways to consume the 40 or so pounds that I will have on my hands by mid-July. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Blake–That is an excellent suggestion! I’m always a fan of a pinch of cinnamon. Have fun eating all your blueberries!

  3. 5 stars
    If you are still looking for homemade options to the fruit and cake mix desert, might I recommend “Snacking Cakes,” by Yossi Arefi for inspiration. This was one my favorite cookbooks of 2020, and maybe my favorite cake book ever. It’s filled with easy small cakes that use 8″ square or 9″ round pans, usually 1 1/2 c of flour and 2 eggs–many would be adaptable. Some of the recipes I found to be both different and delicious are the Whole-Grain Strawberry Cake–which can use other fruits, or none, Nectarine and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake–an infinitely adaptable recipe which uses ricotta cheese, Corn Cake with Honey–a simple cornmeal cake, or Vanilla Buttermilk Cake–which the author describes as “the closest thing to a yellow cake from a boxed mix.” These are the perfect size to dribble over fruit filling in a larger pan.

    I’ve baked at least a dozen recipes from this book, frequently including my own variations. All have been winners. Several Texas libraries, including Harris County and Austin Public, have this book in their OverDrive (Libby) collections should you wish to browse a digital copy–I bought my own. I’m sure it has inspiration that you run with your own wonderful ideas.

    Please feel free to consider this a private communication should it not fit your comment guidelines.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Janet–Thank you for the hearty recommendation! I will check out the cookbook as all that you’ve mentioned sound like something I’d enjoy, as would my readers.

      1. 5 stars
        We did enjoy the Blueberry Lime Crumble, exactly as written–several times in the past few summers, in fact. It’s always a struggle, however, to beat the birds and deer to any of my own blueberries which grow well and abundantly here in NC. So it’s the farmers’ markets for me. Those critters clean up my bushes before the berries are even ripe. OK by me, the birds repay me many times over as they delight me daily.