Friday, July 2, 2010

crisp anyone? a recipe for farmhouse strawberry & blueberry crisp

i think crisps (and crumbles...never really sure the difference) are my favorite summer dessert. sure, they taste delicious...but they are also incredibly easy...and fast...and versatile. just what i want when it is hot outside and the pool is calling. just what i want when i am staring at mounds of beautiful stone fruit and berries...and don't want to take the time to make pies...or cakes...or tarts...or anything tricky.

crisps involve putting the fruit in a dish...adding a topping of oats, flour sugar, spices and a fat...stirring all together...mounding on the fruit...baking...and viola! warm, yummy, fruity, crunchy...and the perfect base for ice cream...or whipping cream...or frankly...just as is.

most crisps call for butter. but i use (regular know what is coming, right?) extra virgin olive oil. i like the taste and texture the oil gives the topping. and, perhaps i am just faking myself out, but the health benefits of the olive oil make me feel less guilty about eating dessert...especially if you saw the serving size i take. (heck, it is fruit people,...fruit!)

this is the 4th of july of my favorite times of year. we have a bbq to attend one day...and different friends stopping by throughout the other two days. all a variation of... " about hanging out by the pool...eating, drinking, swimming, talking and laughing?" i plan to have a lot of ingredients on hand to make simple, fast, delicious (and flexible so i am prepared however many people show up) meals. our farmhouse strawberry & blueberry crisp is perfect for the occasion. the red and blue of the berries spooned onto the white plate seems fitting for the 4th....and i can make them throughout the weekend if necessary to satisfy hungry guests. the recipe is equally good with peaches and apricots and nectarines and plums and cherries....and on and on....keep it handy, you may find yourself making it often.

(the cracked black pepper may seem unusual...but please don't skip it. it adds a subtle flavor that works really well with the fruit...and a tiny bit of heat. no one will know what it is...they will just love the overall taste)

farmhouse strawberry & blueberry crisp
1/2 cup organic rolled oats (not quick cooking kind)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
pinch sea salt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups fruit (i used a mixture of strawberries and blueberries for this one)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp unbleached flour
finely grated rind from one small orange

fresh mint for garnish
homemade or best quality vanilla ice cream (if desired) or whipping cream, or serve with a pitcher of heavy cream

preheat oven to 375 degrees F
for topping: combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork. add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, mixing with the fork to incorporate the oil. when all oil has been added the mixture should look moist and a bit crumbly. set aside.

for filling: slice the strawberries in half and add to another small bowl. stem the blueberries if needed and add to the same bowl. add the sugar, flour and orange peel and gently stir.

assemble: add the fruit mixture to a small baking dish 8 inches in diameter. sprinkle the topping over the fruit ensuring all fruit is covered. bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, or until topping has browned and fruit juices are bubbling. remove from oven and let crisp cool down to "just warm" status. ** this is will be tempted to eat right away, but you need to let the juices thicken a bit which happens during the cooling off period. otherwise the juices will run.**

serve warm or at room temperature topped with the ice cream and mint. also delicious the next morning for breakfast if you have any left.

this recipe serves 4 but is easily doubled or tripled for larger gatherings. i use rectangular glass, stoneware or clay baking dishes and casseroles for larger crisps.

the strawberry and blueberry crisp is a favorite for 4th of july parties...easy, delicious and beautiful...filled with local, in-season organic fruit. make one for this weekend...and happy 4th of july everyone!

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." ~Abraham Lincoln

best, and happy cooking!

diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™"live a green life of style™ "

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Brenda said...

Thanks Diane, You just gave me the answer to dessert for the 4TH. Your crisp looks so good. I love your photographs.

Leslie said...

That looks amazing!!!!! Have a wonderful 4th.

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks brenda! hope you had a terrific 4th of july...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi leslie! hope you try the crisp! i made another one yesterday for our getting addicted so making a peach one later this week...


Jenn said...

I've been making a lot of crisp topping for my coffee cakes lately - try a bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds for a really different flavor. Yum.

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks jenn...the sesame idea sounds really good...will add to my list of "things to make"....