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a crisp of stone fruits


peaches, nectarines,

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.

Crisp Topping

  • 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.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

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.)

Sprinkle crisp topping over all and pop into a pre-heated oven.

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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Save a copy of this recipe, click here.

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yes, such freedom in this the most wonderful season of all! Spree, the language used here is painting me a picture almost as gorgeous a your photos – this looks so comforting. A masterpiece!

    July 31, 2012
    • Shira, m’deara! You’re so kind! Thank you! I think you’re right about this dessert being comforting – with roots stretching back who-knows-how-far, and all these fruits straight from the earth, it’s sort of bound to be, right? xxoo!

      July 31, 2012
      • Totally Spree! There are so many wonderful versions – and each chef brings his (or her) own touch – yours looks out of this world yummy!

        July 31, 2012
  2. carolyncrisp stolen #

    I hadn’t noticed how remarkably cooperative stone fruits tend to be, until you wrote about them! of course they are! I have been having the same reaction as Shira…whatever you don’t show with your luscious pics, you image with your evocative words! I feel like I’m finding out who these fruits are for the first time! I must make a summer crisp & really meet them. 🙂

    July 31, 2012
    • Oh Carolyn, I think you might just have made my day! In this context, I don’t think there’re words that could please me more! Thank you so very much! Truly…!

      July 31, 2012
  3. Thanks for sharing (more like making me hungry) – ha! Love crisps and so, so easy to make:)

    July 31, 2012
  4. Stone fruit are, for me, a high point of Summer. I just cannot get my fill of them and really enjoy searching and selecting them at the farmers market. This crisp is just too good to be true. All of my favorites in one bowl, with a crispy topping, to boot! YAY!!!!
    I’ve pinned it so that I won’t lose it. Thanks, Spree!

    July 31, 2012
    • I just read an article this morning John touting the amazing health benefits of stone fruits. Who knew what we love so much could be so good for us? (I just finished my lunch, and had another – er, generous – spoonful. For my health mind you. I promise, you’ll like this one, a lot!)

      August 2, 2012
  5. I have to make this!!! Gorgeous!

    July 31, 2012
    • You won’t be sorry Anna! Thank you!

      August 2, 2012
  6. What a beautiful recipe!

    July 31, 2012
  7. Oh, so beautiful and so tempting! The apple crisp of fall and winter pales in comparison to the jewel-like tones of this dish, and the taste … so vivid even in my imagination. Truly a beautiful fruit crisp. I must say, I do like your idea of having this for breakfast!

    July 31, 2012
  8. Apricots, cherries and plums. Oh my.

    July 31, 2012
  9. Deb schneider #

    I cannot think of a better summer dessert made with my favorite fruits – thank you! I hadn’t heard of walnut oil until spree introduced me 🙂

    July 31, 2012
  10. I love the beauty of these no-ego, contented fruits. Haha. These photos are amazing — I wanna bite of your crisp now!

    July 31, 2012
  11. Beautiful post. The pictures really sing. Nice one.

    July 31, 2012
  12. Looks delicious, and I’m loving the deep rick colours. Beautifully photographed, as always.

    August 1, 2012
  13. Anyone or anything wouldn’t squabble under your gentle amiable hands, spree! What a bounty of lovely summer served up in such pretty individual dishes. The addition of cardamom must have been heavenly! Lucky are those that sat down to dip a spoon into these crisps!!
    I love your first photo, it’s almost like a still-life painting.. perfect with your poem. xx Smidge

    August 1, 2012
  14. Beautiful photos such lush autumn colours. We call crisp ‘crumble’ here in Blighty!

    August 1, 2012
  15. My goodness, your pictures are beautiful! This looks like a great transition from summer into fall.

    August 1, 2012
  16. I adore fruit crisps and usually make mine with a combo of berries and stone fruits, but after reading your recipe, my next one will be all stone fruits for sure! I usually just use cinnamon, but I can just taste how good all of these warming spices would be with the stone fruits.

    August 1, 2012
  17. Hello, I log on to your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

    February 25, 2014

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