Feeling like you need a little bit of summer right about now? A warm fruit crisp with summer fruit – like blueberries, cherries, or peaches, works wonders. Fruit crisps are my dessert of choice when I want an easy fruit dessert that’s as delicious as pie but without the fuss of making a crust and rolling it out (I wonder at the expression “easy as pie”).
Frozen fruit makes a fabulous crisp. And to add to the simplicity, it works best if you use the fruit frozen, rather than defrosting it. Fruit crisps have their drawback though. They’re so simple and so warmly wonderful that they’re addictive. I find myself craving dessert and thinking – hey, I’ve got 15 minutes before dinner is ready. I could make a fruit crisp. It will bake while we eat dinner and be done in time to watch Downton Abbey. I mean steaming peach crisp, the couch, and Downton Abbey – that’s pretty good for a weeknight evening in January.
There seems to be a thing about 5 ingredients. My friend Margaret, who loves to eat and hates to cook, says she’ll only make things with no more than 5 ingredients. And if you look online, you see a whole bunch of recipes that tout 5 ingredients or less as an enticement to make them. I don’t really get what’s up with that. Yes, an endless list of ingredients is a turn-off to me. Especially if it involves exotic authentic Mexican peppers or unfamiliar bean pastes. This dessert has 7 ingredients. I actually tried to get this down to 5 so that Margaret would make it because I know how much she loves anything with oats. But I couldn’t do without the cinnamon or quick-cooking tapioca, which keeps the fruit from being watery and gives it that lovely slightly gelled consistency. So Margaret, this is still easy and quick so try it.
A note on sweetness – please add sweetener to suit your taste. Since going sugar free, I’ve noticed that my sweetometer has become more sensitive. I actually prefer things less sweet and can even taste the sweetness in say a zucchini. Friends and family who’ve given up sugar have noticed the same thing.
A common question: Are oats gluten free? The answer is that oats themselves are gluten free. But they are typically processed near wheat, barley and other grains, so become contaminated with glutens. Certified gluten free oats are available. I use Bob’s Redmill gluten free oats and gluten free oat flour.
- For the topping:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup xylitol or palm sugar (also called coconut sugar)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- For the filling:
- 6 slightly rounded cups frozen blueberries, peaches, or cherries or a combination of your choice, Note: I use Costco's large, relatively inexpensive bags of organic fruit
- 4 tablespoons xylitol or palm sugar (also called coconut sugar)
- 2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
- Preheat oven to 350° with rack set in upper middle level.
- Melt the butter in a pot large enough to hold all the topping ingredients. Stir in all other topping ingredients and set aside.
- Put frozen fruit into an approximately 9"x11" baking pan. Add xylitol and tapioca and toss to mix. I use my hands. Don't worry if much of the tapioca falls to the bottom.
- Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake for about 1 hour or until fruit is bubbling and topping is lightly browned.
- This recipe works well doubled in a 9"x13" pyrex baking pan. The fruit will be higher and there will be more topping per bite. This is a very flexible and forgiving dessert and it will work out fine.
- This crisp maybe made a day in advance and kept covered and refrigerated. Reheat thoroughly at 350° before serving.