Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Easy-Peasy Fruit Crisp

One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance (and affordability) of produce, especially berries! Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I walked into the produce section, and all I could smell was berries! I decided I had to make a dessert to take advantage of them. The two prettiest berries at the store were the strawberries and blueberries... I briefly considered a strawberry-rhubarb pie, but I wasn't really in the mood for something as fussy as a double-crust pie, and strawberry shortcake was out because we just had some this weekend, so I turned my attention to the blueberries. I made up my mind that a fruit crisp would be the perfect vehicle for the beautiful berries. I considered a triple berry crisp, but the raspberries and blackberries at the store were looking a little past their primes, and were also still a bit pricey. Once I got home, though, I remembered I had a bag of frozen raspberries, and decided to make it a double berry crisp. It was just as well, because the frozen raspberries hold their shape better in the finished dessert.

I love baking, but between school and work I do so much of it, that I don't usually feel like baking anything too elaborate or labor intensive for everyday home baking. (I'm a little more inclined to break out the big guns for guests...) I like fruit crisps and cobblers because they're easy and adaptable- just change your fruits, and you can make them in any season. They can also be made with frozen or fresh fruit, which adds to the versatility. (Frozen fruit is generally picked and frozen in season, meaning that it's tasty and just as nutritious as fresh, perfect for strawberry cravings in December!) For this recipe, substitute about 2-3 bags of frozen, unsweetened fruits for fresh. (Cherries, berries, peaches, rhubarb, &c work best- I would avoid mangoes, guava or other fruits that aren't normally cooked.)

This fruit crisp is delightfully easy to throw together, and is even a little lighter on butter than many recipes. Since I used fresh blueberries, which are rich in a natural thickener called pectin, I didn't use a starch thickener for my filling. The juice in the filling of this crisp has a consistency similar to chocolate syrup. If you'd like a more pie-like thickness for the filling, or if you're using fruit other than blueberries, stir 2 Tbsp of cornstarch into the sugar before sprinkling it on the fruit.

Double Berry Fruit Crisp

Serves 8

Fruit filling
  • 2 pints (about 20oz) fresh blueberries (or about 1.5 bags frozen)
  • 1 bag (about 12-16oz) frozen raspberries- unsweetened, unthawed
  • 1/2c sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Crisp Topping (strussel)

  • 1c quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1c all purpose flour
  • 1c brown sugar (I like dark, but light is fine, too)
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3Tbsp slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. In a 2 1/2qt oven-safe glass dish (a 9x13 glass dish would work in a pinch, too) mix the blueberries and the frozen raspberries. Sprinkle evenly with sugar. Sprinkle on the lemon zest, and drizzle the lemon juice over top.

In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in small bits (roughly the size of a ball bearing). Do not make a paste- the mixture will look dry and crumbly. (It should look dry, but if you squeeze some in your fist, it should stick together.) Mix in almond slices. Sprinkle all of the topping over the fruit mixture.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden and crisp. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream, if you'd like.

This would be a great dinner party dessert, too. Simply prep the fruit mixture and put it in the baking dish. Prep the topping and set it aside in a covered container in the fridge. Once the guests show up, sprinkle the topping on and stick it in the oven. By the time everyone's done with their entrees, the crisp should be done. Pull it out and let it cool a bit while you clear the table and make coffee for everyone, then dish up the warm crisp with vanilla ice cream. Everyone will think you are a domestic goddess (or god!)


Honeybee333 said...

We just bought 8 pints of Blueberries, picked 2 quarts of blackberries and I have the frozen raspberries in the freezer. I am making this tonight. I love it, thanks for the idea and easy dessert.

laura kate said...


i must stop reading your blog when i am hungry... you make it all look so pretty!

i tried to channel my inner erin the other night - i made dinner for my new boy. dinner was a bit crap, but my pie baking skills are pretty consistently awesome. i've had blackberry pie for breakfast twice now. yum :)

Chris Sauter said...

Yum! This looks delicious. Its cool to find other people in Central Florida who like to share their passion for food too. Have you been to the Flying Fish Cafe at Disney's Boardwalk resort? They have an amazing potato wrapped red snapper that will knock your socks off! Thanks for the inspiration. -Chris

Pumpkin said...

I've eaten at Flying Fish Cafe once (it's my super-nerd goal to eat at every table service restaurant at Disney- I only have 5 or 6 to go!). But I want to say I had tuna... That red snapper sounds good! I'll have to have that next time!