I’m here writing a post about summer fruit desserts while listening to the rain and keeping warm on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. As a native Californian who has only been in the UK about a year, I’m trying to figure out what the deal is. Has “summer” already come and gone when it feels like it never actually arrived? Part of me is sad about this situation, but looking on the bright side, if I am going to be home baking today anyway, this is better weather for it. If the sun were out, I would rather be outside with my kids, trying to soak it up.
I like this recipe because it is super flexible in terms of ingredients and you can make it without added sugar. Most crisp recipes have some sort of sweetener in both the topping and the filling, but I have found that if you find sweet fruit to start with and are okay with a subtly sweet dessert that also works for breakfast, you don’t really need either.
Today for the filling I used peaches and a handful of raspberries for a flavour contrast.
I wanted a non-sweet topping, so I just used oats, butter, almond flour, cardamom, a pinch of salt, and final sprinkle of some chopped pistachios that I brought back from Greece.
If you are looking for a sweeter taste, you can add a handful of chopped dried fruit like dates, figs, or cherries to the topping. You can also easily customise this recipe for various dietary restrictions: to make it vegan, use coconut oil instead of butter; to make it gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats; or to make it grain-free, try using dried, unsweetened coconut instead of oats (this also makes for a slightly sweeter topping).
The format of the recipe is flexible as well. The traditional version where you spread sliced fruit in a baking dish (or individual ramekins) and cover it with the topping is always good.
But I am feeling a little bored of that at the moment, so today I also made another version by halving the stone fruit and using the topping as a filling in the place of the pits. I like this format because it has a higher ratio of fruit to topping, so you really taste the fruit.
Try to find peaches that are freestone rather than clingstone to make it easier to take the pits out. Apricots are easy because they are always freestone, and my kids like these because they can pick them up and easily eat them with their little hands. I haven’t tried plums yet but they are next on my list.
If you have extra fruit, you can freeze it and make this recipe later to extend the summer. Or if you have bad summer weather like we do, you can make it now with fresh fruit to convince yourself that it is actually summer, and use it to accompany your endless cups of tea. My kids are hooked on rooibos, and never turn down the idea of a tea party.
Endless Summer Fruit Crisp
Serves 6-8 when made in the traditional format. For stuffed stone fruit halves, the topping recipe fills about 12 pieces of whole fruit, so you may want to halve it depending on how many people you are serving.
–3/4 cup rolled oats (try substituting unsweetened, dried coconut for a grain-free version)
–3/4 cup ground nuts or nut flour (like almonds, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts)
–¼ to ½ teaspoon spices, optional, like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg (Limit cardamom or nutmeg to ¼ teaspoon as these are potent.)
–50g (around 3.5 Tablespoons) of butter or coconut oil
–A pinch of salt
–Optional: if you prefer a sweeter topping, you can add a little chopped dried fruit like dates, figs, or cherries.
The above topping recipe will cover around 5 cups of sliced summer stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines, or plums) and/or berries in a traditional crisp format. Try using mostly stone fruit and a handful of berries for a flavour contrast. Alternatively, you can use the topping to fill around 12 pieces of whole stone fruit (cut into halves).
–Optional plain yogurt, crème fraiche, or cream for serving.
–Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (170 Celsius).
–Lightly grease a baking pan with a little of the butter or coconut oil. Use a 9” round or square dish if you like a thicker crisp or a 9×13 rectangle if you prefer a thinner one. Any baking dishes or sheet pans work for filled stone fruit halves.
–For a traditional crisp, wash and slice the stone fruit and layer it in the dish along with any berries (if using). Leave the skin on to retain the fiber.
–For stuffed stone fruit, wash and halve the fruit, removing the pits, and arrange it in a single layer on the baking dish or sheet pan.
–Either in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor or chopper, add the oats, nuts or nut flour, salt, and spices. Give it a quick mix to distribute the salt and spices and then add the butter. If using a regular bowl, cut the butter into the oat mixture with two table knives or a pastry cutter until the butter resembles small pebbles. If using a food processor, pulse until uniformly combined.
–Spread the topping mixture over the fruit (or spoon it into the halved stone fruit).
–Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
–For the traditional crisp, remove the pan from the oven and gently press the topping down into the filling in sections, using a slotted turner or spatula. This helps integrate the topping and absorb any extra liquid from the fruit.
–Uncover the pan and continue baking for 20-30 minutes more, or until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit is bubbling.