fruit crisp

Blueberry Crisp with Oat-Streusel Crust

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Where I live (Connecticut), Memorial Day Weekend is the “official” start of outdoor grill/BBQ season. Sure, some people use their grills all year, even in the depth of winter. And some start around April. But the weather has been crummy, so — no grilling for me until this weekend.

I need a nice, summery dessert for after, right?

Here it is. Blueberry Crisp. Really simple and easy. Oaty, lightly sweet and with a gently crispy crust. You can make it dairy or parve. Goes well after anything you might have grilled for dinner. Good stuff for Father’s Day too. And July 4th.

Notice that there isn’t too much sugar in either the filling or the crust. Doesn’t need more.

Blueberry Crisp with Oat-Streusel Crust

Filling:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Crust:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup quick cooking or rolled oats

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, vegetable shortening or margarine, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and flour in a baking dish. Set aside. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal (or pulse in a food processor). Place the oat mixture over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown.

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

 

Sour Cherry Crisp

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Recently my daughter Gillian brought me some fresh sour cherries. Cherries that are intended for baking, not eating out of hand.

I love sour cherries. In fact I like most foods that are sour -- anything that provides that satisfying pucker in my mouth. 

Mostly, I like sour cherry pie, but I didn't have enough fruit.

Also, I don't have a cherry pitter.

Thanks to some instruction at The Spruce, I learned how to remove the cherry stones using a pastry tube tip, so I decided to make two individual Sour Cherry Crisps.

Notice that the amount of sugar I use is less than what you'll see in most recipes. The point of sour cherries -- for me -- is that they are supposed to be sour, merely mellowed by sugar, not overwhelmed by it. But, by all means, if you like your desserts more on the sweet side, you can add more.

Sour Cherry Crisp

  • 5 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and mix to coat the cherries completely. Spoon the cherries into 4 baking ramekins (or a small baking dish). In a bowl, mix the oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour in the butter and mix to coat the dry ingredients. Spoon equal amounts of the oat mixture on top of the cherries. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

 

Plums - as Crisp, not Torte

A few weeks ago I spotted Italian prune plums at Fairway. It was 96 degrees out, in the middle of a heat wave, and here I was looking at the first culinary signs of autumn.

But there they were, the plums, and of course I bought several pounds of them.

My thoughts went immediately to Plum Torte, the iconic Rosh Hashanah dessert. I make one every year.

But those plums are too good to reserve for just one holiday.

So I made these Italian Prune Plum Crisps.

Crisps are a more homey-style dessert than a stately looking Plum Torte. However, I think they are just perfect for the holidays. Easier too.

Or, why not serve both?

 

Plum Crisp with Oat Streusel

Filling:

  • 36 Italian prune plums
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the plums, brown sugar, lemon juice and flour in a baking dish. Set aside. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Place the oat mixture over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown.

Makes 6-8 servings.

 

 

 

Nectarine or Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

Autumn may be here, officially speaking. But I couldn't resist the gorgeous nectarines at a local market. I bought a dozen. Large. 

I let them ripen for two days on my counter and they had that end-of-summer ripe, sweet perfume. I couldn't wait to polish one off, anticipating the juicy flesh on my tongue, savoring the last essences of summer.

They were mealy. Dry. Huge disappointment.

But I hate to throw food out.

Ed wanted me to poach them. It seemed like a good idea because poaching not-so-good fruit can enhance their flavor.

They were so big that before poaching I decided to cut them in half, remove the pits and poach the halves. But when I cut them they were full of brown spots. Beyond poaching.

Huge disappointment. But I hate to throw food out.

So I cut around the brown spots and from 12 large nectarines had enough flesh to make a crisp for 6 people. 

Now, that was not at all disappointing. In fact it was just perfect. I added just a bit of honey and enough lemon juice to bring out the best of what was left of these nectarines.

Here's the recipe, for when you have not-so-good peaches or nectarines (you could make this crisp with pears too), and I bet it would be especially delicious if your fruit started out wonderful too.

Peach/Nectarine Crisp with Oat Crust

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (or substitute)

Filling:

  • 6 large peaches or nectarines
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside. Peel the peaches and discard the pits. Slice the peaches into a bowl. Add the flour, honey and lemon juice and toss the ingredients. Place the mixture in the baking dish. Scatter the oat mixture on top of the fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings

 

 

Passover Rhubarb Crisp

We are big rhubarb fans in our family. And unlike many rhubarb lovers, we like the stuff on the sour side, without the sugar overload. It's the way we got used to it as kids, the way my Mom made it.

I suppose she cut down on sweetening food as part of the need during World War II to ration sugar, and then just never went back to the old ways. In any event, she used to cook rhubarb all the time and serve it like applesauce. It was always kind of tart and wonderfully refreshing as a side dish to roasted chicken or turkey. 

Rhubarb is a natural for Passover because that's when the first of the new crop appears. You can get fresh stalks everywhere. We always have so many side dishes at our Seder that I don't cook it up the way my Mom did, to serve with dinner. But it does make a good dessert. Like in this recipe for Rhubarb Crisp.

I usually add a little less sugar than the recipe calls for, just because that's the way we like it. You can cut the sugar to 1/2 cup OR, if you have a real sweet tooth, add a bit more.

You can make this dessert a day or so ahead. It's a nice choice after a typical meat Seder meal, because it's parve (unless you switch to butter), but is also a good choice throughout the holiday.

 

PASSOVER RHUBARB CRISP

  • 2 pounds rhubarb

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons potato starch

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 cups crumbled coconut macaroons

  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

  • 1/3 cup matzo meal

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 coconut oil or butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch thick slices and place in a bowl. Add the sugar, potato starch, lemon peel and cinnamon and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish. In a bowl combine the coconut macaroons, almonds, matzo meal and brown sugar. Add the coconut oil and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Place on top of the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Makes 8-10 servings

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

If summer comes can fruit crisps be far behind? 
 I think that Percy Bysshe Shelley’s hair would stand on end if he read that last question (my paraphrase of the last line of his “Ode to the West Wind”). 
 I know he wasn’t thinking about food when he wrote this poem. 
 But his message was inspiring, positive and uplifting: warm, sunny days invariably follow a cold, dark, harsh winter. There are good times and bad, our lives are filled with both suffering and silver linings. So, keep the faith. 
 Here we are, right at the very start of a light-filled, sun-drenched    season. When a harvest of juicy, flavor-filled local fruit is beginning to appear at the market.   It’s ours for the eating, our silver lining after the ice-and-snowy days behind us.  
 We should take advantage while it lasts.  
 How about a luscious Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp? 

  Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp  
     
  filling:  
     
  4 cups 1” sliced rhubarb (1-1/2 pounds)   
  2 cups sliced strawberries   
  1/2 cup sugar  
  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour  
  1 teaspoon cinnamon  
  1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional  
  1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel  
     
  topping:  
     
  2/3 cup brown sugar  
  3/4 cup all-purpose flour  
  3/4 cup quick cooking oats  
  6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks  
     

  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the rhubarb, strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon peel in a bowl and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Place the mixture into a deep baking dish. Make the streusel: Combine the brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour and oats in a bowl and mix together. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients until they are crumbly. Spoon the oat mixture on top of the fruit. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Makes 6-8 servings

If summer comes can fruit crisps be far behind?

I think that Percy Bysshe Shelley’s hair would stand on end if he read that last question (my paraphrase of the last line of his “Ode to the West Wind”).

I know he wasn’t thinking about food when he wrote this poem.

But his message was inspiring, positive and uplifting: warm, sunny days invariably follow a cold, dark, harsh winter. There are good times and bad, our lives are filled with both suffering and silver linings. So, keep the faith.

Here we are, right at the very start of a light-filled, sun-drenched season. When a harvest of juicy, flavor-filled local fruit is beginning to appear at the market. It’s ours for the eating, our silver lining after the ice-and-snowy days behind us.

We should take advantage while it lasts. 

How about a luscious Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp?

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

 

filling:

 

4 cups 1” sliced rhubarb (1-1/2 pounds)

2 cups sliced strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

 

topping:

 

2/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick cooking oats

6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the rhubarb, strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon peel in a bowl and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Place the mixture into a deep baking dish. Make the streusel: Combine the brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour and oats in a bowl and mix together. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients until they are crumbly. Spoon the oat mixture on top of the fruit. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Makes 6-8 servings