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Published: Tuesday, 5/11/2004

Mulberry Crunch

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus

2 tablespoons for pans

3 pounds mulberries, picked over and cleaned, or other fresh or frozen berries

1 1/2 cups sugar

Freshly grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

4 ounces cream cheese

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

Freshly grated zest of 1 medium orange

2 cups whipping cream

1/2 vanilla bean, split

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 9-by-6-inch pans with 1 tablespoon butter each. (Alternately, use one larger baking dish that holds the fruit at a depth of about 1 inch.) Toss the berries, 1 cup of the sugar, the lemon zest, and juice together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 8 tablespoons butter, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the brown sugar, cream cheese, flour, oats, and orange zest. Rub the mixture together between your hands until it resembles a coarse meal. Place the berries in the prepared pans. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the berry juice is bubbling and thick. (If longer cooking is needed, watch that the top does not brown too quickly; if it does, cover with aluminum foil.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and fold them into the cream. Scoop a portion of the crunch onto individual plates and top each with a dollop of whipped cream.

Yield: Serves 12 to 14

Source: Seth Bixby Daugherty, Cooking from the Heart

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