How to Make a Fruit Crisp Whenever You Want with Whatever You Have
Trust us, you really don't need a recipe for this one. Grab whatever summer produce you have on hand, toss it in an oven-safe dish, and top it with a homemade crumbly topping for an easy, customizable treat.
On its own, summer fruit is pretty darn tasty. Injected with heat, butter, and sugar, this stuff might as well be lethal it’s so delicious. As dreamy and impressive as a good pie is, there is no denying that making one requires a certain level of precision and patience. If you’re just not up for the pastry challenge and cannot be bothered with cutting perfectly-chilled cubes of butter or sweating over a sophisticated lattice, it’s time you wiped the aggravated stains of flour off your forehead and opted for something way easier but just as amazing—the crisp.
Now, don’t be deceived. Baking is a science, and that is why we have recipes for these things. However, in the case of of a fruit crisp, you not only can get away without a recipe, but you should. It makes your final product all the more tailored and refined to exactly what you’re wanting. All it takes is an abundance of produce that you’ve hauled back from the farmers’ market for the fruit filling, along with a few basic baking staples (which you likely already have waiting in your pantry), and you’re good to go.
The beauty of the crisp is that you can use just one or a combination of whatever you have. Peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, plums, cherries—we love it all. Just make sure that you’ve pitted anything that needs to be pitted, and that none of your fruit is any larger than a quarter coin (unless you’re baking this for Big Bite Betty). Hate peeling off the skin? Don’t bother. It looks nice tucked away in the filling, plus it’s a boost of added texture and fiber. As far as quantity, you know who you’re serving this to (I discourage sharing but that is a personal preference and something that I am working on). The rule of thumb is to use about ½ cup to 1 cup of fruit per serving. Do with that suggestion what you will.
To this abundance of fresh produce, you’ll want to mix in some sugar, spice, and (everything nice—JK, continue reading) acid before you bake it. A spoonful or so of light brown or white sugar will do, along with a dash of cinnamon (nutmeg and ginger are legit, too), and a splash of fresh lemon juice (throw in some zest if you’re feeling...zesty). Keep in mind, your fruit filling will only become sweeter as you bake it and the fruit’s natural sugars caramelize, so go easy on the added sugar, and let the sweetness from the fruit shine through in the end. Load this party of a mixture into any oven-safe dish. Cast-irons, skillets, casserole dishes, and individual ramekins all work, it just depends on what size you ultimately want your crisp to be.
This is where things start to get...crumbly. In a large bowl with those beautiful hands of yours, mix ~about~ equal parts light brown sugar and chilled butter, along with two parts flour (alt-flours and alt-butters will work too). For a jumping off point, a good estimate is about 1 tablespoon of butter per serving, and you can scale that up or down however you please. To this mixture, make sure to add a dash of salt, because everyone knows that salt in desserts is *key.* If you’d like, go ahead and throw in some oats or chopped nuts for added texture and toastiness, making sure that your crumble mixture does not become overly dry. If it does, add more butter.
Bake Time and Temperature
Atop the fruit filling, disperse your crisp mixture just so that a little fruit is peeking through (it’s a nice visual touch, okay?). If you happened to make way more topping than you intended, you can bake it straight on a baking sheet for a crunchy, granola-like topping to snack on or throw on a bowl of ice cream, or you can freeze it and save it for your next crisp. Bake your crisp at 375°to 400,° for about 25 minutes to an hour. You’ll know it’s done when the fruit is bubbling, and the crisp topping is golden brown. This all depends on the size and depth of your crisp.
Because you’re not a heathen, you will of course consume this immediately while it’s still a warm puddle of love, and you will serve it with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. You don’t need me to tell you that sweet dairy makes everything better. Are you one of the lucky ones that was blessed with the ability to act like a civilian around warm fruit desserts and have leftovers? Congratulations. Tomorrow’s breakfast just got way better.