Cobblers, grunts, slumps, buckles, brown bettys, crumbles, pandowdies, pies, and crisps all have one thing in common. Their ability to transform fruit into bites of sinful, crazy good, satisfying, wonderful deliciousness. Out of all of these, the crisp has always been my most favorite 'fruit' comfort food dessert (pies are running a very close second). Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, a crisp instantly makes me feel warm, cozy, weight of the world lifted off my shoulders content.
For the most part I generally lean toward making one fruit only crisps. As I looked at all of the cartons of fruits so perfectly displayed at the farmer's market, it was as if the universe seemed to saying to me 'it's time to expand your crisp making repertoire'. Who am I not to listen to the voice of the universe? But which combination of fruits would take me outside of my 'crisp' comfort zone and still be able to put me in a Zen-like, not a care in the world state? Peaches and blueberries. Not because orange and blue are the colors of my alma mater (although that isn't such a bad reason), but because I just happen to love both of these fruits.
In making the peach and blueberry crisp I wanted and knew I needed to do more than just add peaches to my blueberry crisp recipe. With a determination bordering on zealousness, I wanted there to be a discernible difference between the two crisps. I thought using oat flour instead of all-purpose would give the crisp topping a nuttier flavor as well as make the crisp gluten-free. Mixing demerara sugar into the fruit instead of brown or granulated sugar would add a hint of toffee flavor to the filling. Because peaches release more liquid that blueberries, using (more) cornstarch than flour would ensure the filling wasn't a baked soupy mess. The cornstarch would also have the added benefit of keeping the crisp gluten-free. And using sea salt instead of Kosher salt would further enhance the flavors of fruit.
Back to gluten free for a second. I have (incorrectly) perceived that anything and everything gluten free must not taste nearly as good as if it contained gluten. This Peach and Blueberry Crisp defies that rather narrowly held perception.
Some crisp recipes using peaches call for blanching and removing their skins before slicing. Not this one. The peach skins add flavor, color and texture. Besides crisps are supposed to be simple to make.
Think seasonally when making any fruit dessert. Fruits are always best for eating and cooking when they are at peak season, however, this should never ever dissuade you from making fruit desserts year round. More than the sometimes hard to justify price, some fruits available during off seasons in the grocery stores just don't seem to taste as good (another bias). Fortunately frozen fruit will have a very similar texture to fresh when baked.
When making any fruit dessert, all of the fruit needs to be at the same temperature as the baking times for fresh and frozen fruits vary. Frozen fruit lowers the temperature of filling resulting in longer baking times. So if combining fresh and frozen in the same recipe, one of the fruits may end up being undercooked and the other one being overcooked. Additionally, frozen fruit requires a slight increase in the amount of thickener (i.e., cornstarch or flour) so if fresh and frozen are mixed in a recipe calling only for fresh fruit, the result could be a soupy filling.
This Peach and Blueberry crisp is baked for approximately 50 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. The crisp is done when the topping is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling at the sides or in the center. As hard as it may be to resist, allow it to rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Covered with towels, the crisp can be kept warm for almost an hour.
In anticipation of getting a serious craving for Peach and Blueberry Crisp this winter, I had better stock up on some more blueberries and learn how to freeze peaches. Nothing sounds and feels better than to be momentarily transported back to the warm, sunny days of summer in the middle of a cold, snowy winter.
Peach and Blueberry Crisp
2/3 cup oat flour (or can use all-purpose flour)
1 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 yellow, ripe peaches, halved, seeded and cut into slices (skin remains on) (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
3 cups fresh blueberries (or 3 cups frozen blueberries defrosted)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup demerara sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Optional: Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a deep oval or 8x10 baking dish.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all topping ingredients. Mix until combined. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine all fruit ingredients.
4. Pour fruit mixture into prepared pan.
5. Sprinkle topping evenly over the fruit.
6. Bake for 50 minutes or until top is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling at the edges.
7. Serve warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
If breaking away from routines gives us a chance to experience something new, why is it so hard to make these shifts? Maybe it's because some changes are viewed as being paramount to causing an end of the world apocalypse. And I get that. Just the thought of increasing my mileage on the treadmill somedays is enough to make me feel as if I will be putting my life at risk (such head games I can play with myself). Not being able to have turkey on Thanksgiving makes my heart race uncontrollably fast. Eating pancakes without butter (I gave up syrup years ago) is enough to cause me to consider having a meltdown. Okay, maybe I am guilty of slightly exaggerating (except for the Thanksgiving Day one).
As I look back to when I was working full-time there were many days when I said I could not leave my desk to go out to lunch or I could not take a day off or I could not leave early or I didn't make time to spend time with friends (only now are some of my family and friends beginning to tell me how inaccessible I was). The world would not have ended if I had done or not done any of those things (as much as I had myself believe at the time). I would have figured out how to get the work done. Maybe the universe was telling me to find a better work-life balance and maybe I wasn't listening (or didn't want to). Who knew the universe could be so wise? Well, the Peach and Blueberry Crisp answered that question.