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Gluten-Free Living

Gluten-free Living: Savoring summer

Gluten-free rhubarb berry crisp.

(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

Gluten-free rhubarb berry crisp. (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

After weeks of rain and cool temperatures, it feels like summer has finally arrived. That means months of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches, all perfect bases for easy, seasonal desserts.

Those desserts get even easier with this make-ahead gluten-free crumble topping.

The base ratio – 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of almonds, 1 cup of flour and 1 stick of butter – will generously cover a 9-by-13-inch pan of filling. The recipe below is far larger, though, allowing you to stock your freezer with enough crumble to produce speedy, impressive fruit crisps all summer long.

When it comes to the filling, be creative. The weather was still gloomy while I was developing this recipe, so I had to use mixed berries from the freezer case at the grocery store. I was, however, able to find a few stalks of rhubarb at the farmers market. It wasn’t much, but it gave the filling a subtle earthy tang.

Any single variety of fruit would be lovely, but many summer flavors are even better combined. How about peach raspberry? Or strawberry rhubarb? In August, try mixing blueberries with a few early applies for an unexpected twist. You can also experiment with spices and even herbs. Rosemary goes well with many stone fruits, cardamom turns basic blueberries into something special, and lemon zest brightens pretty much anything.

I baked my crumble in a conventional oven, but you could also cook the fruit and topping in a cast iron skillet on a grill or over a campfire. When it’s finished, serve alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Big-batch crumble topping

4 cups gluten-free rolled oats

4 cups sliced almonds

4 cups King Arthur gluten-free baking mix or a similar product

4 sticks butter, melted

2 generous pinches salt

Combine the dry ingredients in a very large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until moist and crumbly. Store the topping in freezer in large zip-top bags or air-tight containers.

Fruit crumble

5 to 6 cups fresh fruit, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary

3 tablespoons tapioca starch

1/2 to 1 cup sugar or to taste

3 cups prepared crumble topping

optional spices and herbs of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with gluten-free nonstick spray. In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the tapioca starch. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with sugar, then cover with crumble topping. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the fruit filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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