a crisp of stone fruits
apricots, cherries, plums
sublime in their ecstasy dancing,
sweating sweet sunny juices of summer
What is it about stone fruits that makes them so amiable and easy-going? Such contented things. Never any squabbling. Never an ego out of control. No matter which of them is in the bunch, it’s in all ways pure sweet harmony.
I’ve made this crisp in many combinations and it always tastes … well, sort of perfect. This time it was with a crowd of them all – some just slightly under-ripe, holding their shape while adding a bit of tartness, other dripping their ripe sweet juices over the cutting board onto the counter. The addition of bing cherries (though no more than a good fragrant handful) colored the entire dish with the blush of magenta. Here is a dessert, baked but simple, without secrets or special formulas, and full of summer’s freshness and freedoms.
- 3 T. unsalted butter, broken into several pieces (see NOTE)
- 3 T. walnut oil
- ½ to ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
NOTE: instead of using a combination of butter and walnut oil, you could simply use 6 T. butter. Or all walnut oil. Or 3 T. butter & 3 T. coconut oil. Such freedom.
Either using your fingers and kneading together the ingredients or using the paddle attachment of your mixer, work the ingredients together until you have a mixture resembling coarse crumbs. Set aside.
The following recipe will fill a 2½-quart gratin dish. On this occasion, I separated the recipe into 3 separate baking dishes, baking them all together, but only serving one. The others will be gently reheated for serving later – perhaps even for some special breakfast, served alongside cold Greek yogurt drizzled in honey.
A Crisp of Assorted Stone Fruits
- 3 pounds (about 1.5 kg) assorted stone fruits
- ¼ cup sugar (nice with vanilla bean scented sugar if you have it)
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
When selecting fruits, a combination of ripe and slightly under-ripe fruits work to produce the most balanced flavors.
Wash fruit, remove stones and pits. Cut cherries in halves, all other fruits in approximately ½-inch slices. Mix the sugar with all the spices and then sprinkle over the fruit. Toss together and tumble into buttered baking dish (or dishes) of your choice. ( See below for baking times.)
Baking times: For the 2½ quart gratin dish, about 45 minutes. When splitting it into smaller dishes, look for fruit juices to be bubbling up through the crisp topping and for the topping to be nicely browned. Usually 30 to 35 minutes will do the job.
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