Meri’s Berries

Posted on 04 September 2019

Is it a crumble or a crisp? A cobbler or a grunt? Or maybe a slump? Whatever the name, it’s a fruit pie without a traditional pie crust. It frees us from rolling, crimping, and the customary fretting about flakiness. And let’s face it…sometimes we just prefer more fruit and less pastry.

With Meri’s Berries, you toss together a crumbly dough that bakes into a crisp cookie-like topping. Sugar and flour in the dough combine with the berry juice to turn it a bit syrupy. This syrup won’t get as thick as pie filling does, but then again there’s no crust to make soggy.

Meri Cayem shared this recipe back when our sons, both named Andrew, were best buds in grade school. An impressive home cook, Meri zeroes in on what tastes good and how to make it efficiently. Many of my favorite recipes have her name on them.

Here Meri started out with a classic recipe from her mom, Honey, for apple crumble. Meri kept the dough, but swapped out the fruit.

“My mom was a fantastic cook, says Meri, “and so many of her recipes were very simple and delicious.” Yep, that sure describes this one.

Our friend Gary Isaacson made this often, but renamed it “1-1-1 Crumble.” He noticed that the recipe has an unusual property: it calls for one unit of each ingredient. There’s 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 egg, etc. Since I always double the vanilla (a knee-jerk reaction), I apologize for upsetting this elegance.

Meri’s Berries works equally well whether you use fresh summer berries or a bag of fancy frozen berries slightly defrosted. So feel free to use what you have on hand. All you do is fill a pie plate with fruit. And finish it with Honey’s delicious crumbly topping.

Meri’s Berries

Use blueberries and raspberries, or apples and cranberries, or whatever you like, to fill a pie plate.

Blend in a bowl:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour (or quick oats)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut in
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (Note: I double)

If powdery, sprinkle on a little water.

Put fruit into a greased pie pan, then sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 35 – 40 minutes.

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