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This one-dish wonder is here to sweeten your mornings

By Stacey Ballis
March 22, 2021
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Is there anything more soul satisfying than a great fruit crisp? Slumpy saucy fruit lolling around in its own juice, a crispy oaty nutty topping, warm, room temp, or cold: This is a dessert that always feels like a hug. Add a swirl of heavy cream or custard, or a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream, and all is right with the world.

So, what if you could have all that joy for breakfast?

Introducing the Breakfast Fruit Crisp

Sure, we have all eaten leftover crisp for breakfast, because fruit and oatmeal sort of feel like breakfast to begin with. But dessert crisp is full of sugar and is not exactly the kind of fuel you need to get through your day. It's time to embrace the breakfast crisp, and luckily, it couldn't be easier. Essentially, cutting down on the sugar in the filling so that the fruit shines in all its sweet-tart glory, and swapping out the buttery sugary topping for your favorite store bought or homemade granola, and serving with yogurt instead of ice cream, and you have a breakfast that is as delicious as it is good for you.

Building a Breakfast Fruit Crisp

With just three parts—fruit, crispy topping, and creamy topping—it's easy to tinker with the original dessert formula.

Fruit: Fresh fruit is ideal, but it's equally fine to used thawed frozen fruit (no shame in using up one of those quarantine cans of fruit, either). Keep it simple with one fruit or fancy it up with a combo. Salvage fruit that is starting to be past its prime or embrace fruit at the peak of perfection. Remember: Cooking can make underripe fruits sweeter and more tender.

Crispy topping: I tend to like a granola topping with simple flavors like cinnamon, maple, or vanilla but use what you have and what you love. Adding some extra rolled oats or chopped nuts helps keep things crunchy.

Creamy topping: Topping with yogurt gives your breakfast much needed protein, as well as that creamy balance we love in a classic crisp dessert. The yogurt can be plain, if you like to boost the tartness, or use a complementary flavor like vanilla, honey, or lemon.

Breakfast Crisp with Cherries
Credit: Getty / AnnaPustynnikova

How to make a Breakfast Fruit Crisp

Ready to rock your breakfast world? It couldn't be easier. Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 cups of chopped fruit (fresh, thawed frozen, or canned)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 T fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange, even grapefruit)
  • 1½ cups granola
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt and yogurt to top

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In a bowl, mix fruit with sugar, cornstarch, and citrus juice (and a bit of citrus zest if you like) and pour into a lightly greased 9 x 9 baking dish or oval gratin pan.

3. In a small bowl mix granola, oatmeal, and chopped nuts (if using). Sprinkle evenly over the top of the fruit.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked and the juices are bubbling and have thickened slightly. Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to the top, which will give you some wonderful crunchy pops of salt that will in turn enhance the sweetness. Serve warm, room temp, or chilled, with yogurt.

Variations for Breakfast Fruit Crisp

Once you've got the basic recipe down, it's time to play! You can experiment by substituting alternative sugars like maple sugar, date sugar, vanilla sugar, coconut sugar, or crystalized honey. Add some spices if you like: Go traditional with cinnamon or nutmeg, or adventurous with black pepper or chili flakes. Once you start making this crisp, you'll fall in love with how fresh and light it feels, and while it is an amazing breakfast, no one will tell if you decide you want to serve it for dessert!