Adding Amaretti biscuits to the crumble mix gives it a lovely lift of almondy flavour that marries so well with fruit, especially blackberries and raspberries. I pinched the idea from the excellent Mark Hix but went a step further this time and added a slug of Amaretti liqueur to the fruit.
I’m afraid you do need real (expensive) Amaretti biscuits for this. I’ve tried it with the cheap bulk packet versions and the Amaretti flavour seems to evaporate out during the cooking. My sister-in-law likes to set the Amaretti wrappers alight and watch them float to the ceiling, but of course I couldn’t possibly recommend this.
If you baulk at the cost of Amarettis, try adding crushed gingernut biscuits, chopped hazelnuts or flaked almonds instead.
I used our home-grown berries from the freezer but those frozen bags of forest fruits are pretty good, or you can use fresh seasonal fruit. Harder fruits will need five minutes pre-cooking in a pan with a tablespoon or two of water. I made six individual servings but you can make one big crumble if you prefer.
I’ve erred on the side of generosity with the amount of crumble topping – if you have any left over bung it in the freezer for next time.
Amaretti Berry Crumbles
50g caster sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp of Amaretti liqueur (optional)
For the crumble:
150g butter, diced
150g caster sugar
3 tbsp porridge oats
225g plain flour
20 Amaretti di Saronno biscuits (the harder ones)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
If using frozen fruit, defrost in a single layer on big plates lined with kitchen paper, otherwise you will end up with too much liquid.
Put the berries in a pan with the sugar and cook gently for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved, trying not to break up the fruits. Remove from the heat and add the Amaretti liqueur, if using.
Put the Amaretti biscuits in a big sealable freezer bag and crush to crumbs. Now add them to a food processor with the remaining crumble ingredients, or rub it all through your fingers, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. It should clump together if you squash it between your fingers.
You can do both of these stages in advance, if you like, but don’t put the crumble on the fruit until just before you want to cook.
Using a slotted spoon, divide the fruit between six large ramekins, or into one bigger dish, to about three-quarters full. (Any leftover juice makes great fruit lollies with a bit of extra sugar.)
Spoon the crumble mix over the berries, filling to the top of the dish, and stand in a tin lined with kitchen foil in case they bubble over.
Cook for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Delicious with extra-thick double cream or a good vanilla ice cream.