Quinoa Blueberry Crumble is exactly that – it crumbles! But it’s relatively easy to make and is delicious.
I adapted a recipe from a cookbook for “Plum Crumble.” The cookbook author, Edna Staebler, pronounced that, “This was the most popular of the six desserts I made for a coffee-dessert party for ladies who are all good cooks.” Obviously Edna likes to cook desserts; this was quite an endorsement for “Plum Crumble.”
Plums are not in season in February, so I substituted some blueberries that I had purchased (also not in season, but available in grocery stores). I used quinoa flakes in place of the oatmeal. Quinoa what? Yes, flakes. That’s another story.
I made a few other adjustments, cutting down on the sugar that Edna used in her recipe. I felt that nutmeg might complement the blueberries better than cinnamon, so omitted the cinnamon and added a pinch of nutmeg. I baked the crumble in a tart pan. However, it was impossible to removed the crumble from the tart pan in one piece. Next time I’ll use a baking pan. Otherwise it’s the same recipe.
I was shopping at Whole Foods for some cocoa with 100% cacao and went down the cookbook isle. What a mistake. My eyes caught sight of a recipe book with beautiful photos of recipes cooked using quinoa. One intriguing photo was salmon with mustard-quinoa flake crust. That lead to a search for quinoa flakes. Not of the bulk foods isle, the flour isle or the rice isle, I was almost ready to give up when a clerk spotted in on the top shelf of the cereal isle.
Qunioa Flakes is an hot instant cereal, comparable to cream of wheat or instant oatmeal. It’s a rolled flake and as a hot cereal cooks in 90 seconds. The flakes are very bland and can be used in place of oatmeal or bread crumbs.
This particular brand claims to be organic, the outer bitter layer of the seed has been removed, according to the manufacturer. I still found it had a slightly bitter after-taste. However, you won’t want to rinse the flakes to remove the bitter taste. This product is from Bolivia.
Quinoa is a seed, but cooks similar to a grain. It is higher in protein that most other grains (similar to oatmeal) and is a complete protein-containing all the amino acids needed for metabolism. It’s a good source of iron, riboflavin, phosphorus. The flakes contain some fiber; not alot.
Quinoa Blueberry Crumble
The recipe uses a crumb crust and topping and fruit filling. I used an 8″ tart pan. The recipes calls for a 9″ square Pyrex baking dish which is a little larger and a better size. Next time, I might use a 9″ baking dish, place aluminium foil in the bottom and sides so the finished crumble can be lifted out.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place aluminium foil in bottom and sides of a 9″ square baking pan and butter the aluminium foil.
Make crumb topping. In medium bowl place: 1 cup flour, 1 cup quinoa flakes, 1 cup brown sugar, pinch salt and mix together. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, and cut in so the mixture is crumbly. Press half of the crumbs in to the bottom of the baking pan, set the rest aside.
Make the sauce/filling: Wash 1 pint blueberries (2 cups) removing any foreign matter. Set aside. In small sauce pan, add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cornstarch. Combine with wooden spoon. Gradually add 1 cup of room-temperature water, stirring to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. Cook the sauce over medium-hot stove until it bubbles, becoming thick and clear. Stir constantly. Remove from stove, add the blueberries, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Pour the blueberries and sauce over the crumb crust.
Add topping: Spread the remaining reserved topping over the blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes. The crumble topping should be golden brown and the filling should bubble.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. If using aluminum foil, lift out onto serving plate. Don’t try to remove the aluminum foil from under crust, just tear away. Cut into small squares (this is very rich) and serve hot. Ice cream or whipped topping served with crumble is complements it well.
Source: Staebler, Edna, “Schmecks Appeal, More Mennonite Country Cooking”, McCelland and Stewart, 1987.
Blueberries grow in Louisiana. I had several huge, prolific bushes in my yard. The blueberries ripened in May and June. Blueberries usually don’t require much care. However, mine got into competition with the shade of a rapidly growing tree and didn’t make it. I cut down the nuisance tree, replanted the blueberry bushes and am waiting until the bushes make more blueberries!
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are an excellent source of phytonutrients, especially the anthocyanins. These antioxidants may help prevent/decrease inflammation associated with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, fiber and manganese.