The notion of wonder has been floating around in my brain for a couple days now. Someone brought it up to me recently, and I can’t help but feel like it is something that we have collectively stamped out of our culture after people reach the age of eight or nine. Wonder. We’ve changed it: turned it into white bread, into a question. Well, I want it back.
My most recent wonder-filled days happened three years ago in a tiny town in Italy. Everything was inspired: choosing clips to hang clean laundry out of my little window, watching a fly buzz around my cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon after a long nap, listening to the old men of the town enthusiastically playing their daily game of cards. It was a paradox. Insignificant events became remarkable, and I paid attention.
Every time I come back from Italy I convince myself that I will carry that simplicity and love for life into the life I lead here. Every time those ideas fall to the wayside within weeks of jumping back into a full and hectic schedule. This time I have not just returned from Italy, but I am looking to shift my awareness. Let’s hope it lasts for more than a week.
One place I never have to work hard to find wonder in, is in berries. I could eat buckets of berries: by themselves, with fresh whipped cream, in salads, in desserts. Anytime. Always.
Look at them! They’re truly remarkable little buggers.
What could be more inspirational in my quest for wonder than a pile of those, bubbling under a buttery, sugary crust? Nothing.
For the Filling:
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the crumble:
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup cold (almost frozen) butter
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the blueberries, strawberries, lemon juice, zest and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the cornstarch and integrate until the mixture becomes a little pasty. Add the sugar to combine. Grease a 9-inch pie dish or a casserole dish and pour in the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the juices begin to run.
For the crust:
While the fruit is in the oven, combine the flour blend, cornmeal, baking soda and salt in a bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the light brown sugar and stir to combine. Cut the frozen butter into small pieces and using a food processor or a pastry cutter, integrate into the flour mixture until pea-sized crumbles form. Put the mixture back into the freezer until ready to use.
Remove the berries from the oven and spread a layer of the crumble topping over them to cover. Bake for approximately fifteen more minutes or until the crust begins to brown and the fruit is bubbling nicely.
Allow the crumble to cool and serve with whipped cream. Or whipped, sweetened yoghurt. Or ice cream!