At the little bakery where I work, we always have at least a couple gallons of streusel in the freezer. The type of streusel changes with the seasons, as our fruit pies shift from apple to pear, from strawberry to peach. Of all the recipe cards in our collection, streusel is the chillest chick at the party.
It takes just minutes to whip up, can be baked straight from the freezer, and keeps there for months. It can be piled on pies or layered into cakes. Or—à la Dorie Greenspan, who writes about “streusel crunch” in her book Dorie's Cookies—it can be baked solo on a sheet tray, then scattered over ice cream. Or yogurt. —Emma Laperruque
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture begins to form a crumbly, curdy—not cohesive—dough. Process more for big clumps and less for a pebbly, sandy texture. (You can also do this step in a bowl with your hands!)
Dump onto a plate and continue to squeeze and break-apart the mixture until it looks right to you. (Streusel is very personal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) Refrigerate for a few hours or freeze for 30-ish minutes until firm. (This will reinforce the streusel’s crumby personality.) Bag and store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Put it to good use! Mound 1 to 1 1/2 cups on top of a pie before baking. For cake, follow your pan size and your heart, but figure a very thick layer of streusel in the middle and on top. The more, I say, the better.
Or, to make streusel crunch, preheat the oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silicone mat. Spread into a single layer and bake until the streusel begins to brown and crisp—about 20 minutes total, tossing with a fork halfway through. It will continue to crisp as it cools. Cool completely before sprinkling on everything from yogurt and ice cream. (You can even serve it with milk, like the cereal of your dreams.) Store in an airtight bag or jar for up to 3 days.
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.