Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp | A Sweet Spoonful

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We’ll be visiting Sam’s family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom’s lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam’s younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs — of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we’re at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts — in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp | A Sweet Spoonful

When I’m traveling, generally the last thing I want to be bothered with are recipes. Vacation should feel a bit more effortless and haphazard and not as structured or delineated. And fruit crisp is one of the things I feel confident just kind of throwing together: I can eyeball the amount of fruit, add a few tablespoons sugar and a bit of cornstarch or flour. Maybe lemon juice if we’ve got it. And then I work some butter into a blend of flour, oats and brown sugar until it starts coming together in clumps and bake it until the fruit starts bubbling up through the crisp layer in vibrant, jammy hues. This year though, I thought it would be useful to actually get my recipe down in writing — so I’d always have it at the ready to glance at should I forget or should you want to make a pan in your own kitchen or while traveling and cozying up in someone else’s.

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp | A Sweet Spoonful

The version you see here is one that will be repeated in a week or so in a small, funky kitchen in upstate New York. It’s a whole grain fruit crisp with a bit less sugar than other recipes you’ll see floating around the internet — and I add a generous handful of chopped toasted nuts for added crunch. If you’re a fruit crisp purist, perhaps you won’t be into that but I’d encourage you to try it before knocking it. This recipe can be made with any fruit you’d like: summer berries are obviously great but apples, pears or stone fruit work beautifully, too. This version is a Raspberry Rhubarb crisp, and was a bit on the tart side (which I loved) with plenty of that buttery, toasty crisp topping that I swear I could eat all on its own.

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp | A Sweet Spoonful

I ended up bringing this one to our book club a few weeks ago. Not only had I not read the book this time around, but I actually didn’t even know what book we were to read. I told myself next month I’ll do better and even had a delusional moment thinking how much reading I could get done on the plane (I know, I know). But the nice thing is that when you show up somewhere clutching a warm fruit crisp, it doesn’t really matter. I hope the simplicity and adaptability of this recipe encourages you to show up somewhere clutching one, too.

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp
While this recipe will work with any fruit, it’s worth saying something about sugar. The formula below was perfect for my Raspberry Rhubarb crisp, but for my tastes it was a touch on the sweet side when I made this with all strawberries the week before. I would say if you use a naturally very sweet fruit like strawberries or stone fruits, I would probably go down to 2 tablespoons of sugar in the filling. Of course, if you like a slightly sweeter, jammier filling keep it just as is. As for the flour, I’ve tried this recipe with 100% whole wheat flour, barley and oat flour and all-purpose flour and it’s great each time. I think you could use any flour you’re excited about and likely have good results. Like most simple, humble desserts, spend a little time to make it your own. Then you’ll want to keep it in heavy rotation this season; I know we will.

Serves: 6-8

For the Filling: 
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) mixed berries or your choice of thinly-sliced fruit (pears, apples, stone fruit)
3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Topping:
3/4 cup (75g) old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (75g)  whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted nuts (hazelnuts or almonds are good choices)
1/3 cup (75g) lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a medium bowl, toss together the fruit, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, nuts, brown sugar and salt. Working with your fingertips, blend in the small cubes of butter until no dry spots remain; some of the butter will be fully incorporated while some will be in pea-size clumps.

Butter a 2-quart baking dish, scrape in fruit filling, and scatter topping on top. Avoid the temptation to press the topping into the fruit crisp — it should be sitting there loosely as that’ll help it clump when it bakes. Bake for 35-50 min, depending on the fruit you’re using. You want the top to brown evenly and, just as importantly, you want to see the juices from the fruit bubbling up through the crisp topping in places.

Comments

  1. Kaitlin

    Hmm, looks delicious! And so simple and adaptable! Thanks for sharing, as always, so excited to read your posts. Sending good thoughts for your first flight and big trip with Oliver! I think it usually ends up being better/easier than you think it will be, and maybe the key is to be as prepared as possible (spare baby outfit, etc) while also managing expectations. That's my general rule. My little guy, now 4, has flown a ton, since my family is in Texas and we live in California. What I remember most about his first flight, when he was only 4 months old, was how kind the other passengers were, which I did not expect. Made me feel a bit less cynical, but also grateful for the general goodness in people. Have a wonderful time with your family!!

  2. mcs3000

    Love these family posts. You capture life so beautifully.

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