Summer Fruit Crisp Three Ways

The Book of Ecclesiastes (3:1) tells us “to everything there is a season.” Summer? That’s the season for enjoying the sunshine and for taking life a little easier, especially when it comes to cooking.

So, give a hearty welcome to fruit crisp, a perfectly perfect summer dessert. It’s a good choice if you’re like me and prefer homey to haute, simple to complicated, at least while the weather is so good.

Basically a fruit crisp is this: cut-up fruit, seasoned, slightly sweetened and mixed with a starch of some kind to keep the juices from being too runny, with a crumby, crunchy crust on top.

The crumble toppings are very forgiving. Though the whole thing is sort of like pie, crisps are much easier because you don’t have to get the dough just right. And you don’t have to roll anything. It isn’t supposed to look perfect.

After you layer the fruit and top, just bake and eat–it’s that easy.

Fruit crisps have so much going for them you can make them throughout the season and never actually serve the same dessert twice. Here’s how:

  • Most summer fruit will work in a crisp. Best are peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, berries, pluots, cherries and rhubarb or a combination of these. You can even add extras like raisins or chopped dried fruit or fresh cranberries.
  • The topping, which is the crowning glory of all fruit crisps, is also incredibly versatile. It can be dairy or parve, speckled with nuts or nut-free. Use oats, granola, breakfast cereal flakes and even plain old flour, buttered bread crumbs or bread cubes. You can mix-and-match toppings with any fruit you put on the bottom.
  • You can switch seasonings, in both the fruit mixture and the crust: anything from citrus peel to ground spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom.

Try your hand at the crisp below, using any of the toppings. The streusel top tastes better as dairy, the other two are an easy switch from dairy to parve and back.

in a cup


Blueberry Filling

6 cups fresh blueberries

6 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Then choose one of the following recipes for your crumble topping:

Streusel Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp butter

Coconut Crumble Topping

3 Tbsp coconut oil

3 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread or other margarine

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cereal Crumble Topping

1 cup wheat/raisin bran flakes

1/2 cup oat flakes

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 Tbsp melted butter (or margarine, coconut oil, etc.)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

First, make your topping. Choose one of the options below.

Then, make the filling. In a bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Place the fruit mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the topping is crispy and brown.

Option A: Streusel Topping
Combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter in chunks and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Set aside.

Option B: Coconut Topping
Melt the coconut oil and buttery spread together, mix and set aside. Place the flour, coconut, oatmeal, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted coconut oil-buttery spread mixture. Mix until the dry the ingredients are completely coated. Place the mixture over the fruit.

Option C: Cereal Topping
Crush the cereal flakes slightly and put them in a bowl. Add the nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted butter. Mix until the dry the ingredients are completely coated. Place the cereal mixture over the fruit.

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